Pesky invasive flower invades Cherokee Park - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Pesky invasive flower invades Cherokee Park

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It is popping up in yards and parks across Kentuckiana. The yellow flower that many see as beautiful is wreaking havoc on our area.

In Cherokee Park, it's a blanket of yellow and green, but it's the threat the plant poses to native flowers that has conservationists and botanists concerned.

"Up until they mowed this grass here, this whole field was covered with little yellow flowers," said Major Waltman of the Olmsted Parks Conservancy.

With its dainty appearance, many walkers and bikers in the park think it is pretty. Even botanist Pat Haragan sees the beauty in the weed.

"Actually it is pretty, I hate to say," Haragan said.

The truth is, however, the Fig Buttercup is better described as a lethal killer.

Jeff Masters points out the destruction that this plant is doing. Masters is a Ph.D. student who is studying the plant at the University of Louisville.

"These are some new seedlings," he said. "They are not going to survive."

The invasive plant, originally from Europe and Asia, has formed a dense mat of yellow along creeks in Cherokee Park, and continues to show up in areas along the Ohio River. But exactly where it's spreading is unknown.

"We don't really know where it is going," said Pat.

They do know they don't want it to get away from the waterfront property it enjoys so much.

"It is already moving up a hill over there which is one of my favorite places for some rare plants," said Pat.

Losing native flowers is the main concern.

"If this thing continues to move uphill, then it is going to crowd those out too," said Jeff.

And it isn't so easy to get rid of.

"We started spraying it in 2007, sprayed it in 2009, 2010, 2011, and we saw absolutely no success," said Major Waltman. Waltman is in charge of mitigating the spread of this plant in this particular park.

So they will continue to monitor the plant, and hope for a solution to the spread.

Also of concern with this Fig Buttercup is its possible role in the fading population of pollinating insects. With the weed taking over there are less native flowers for bees and other pollinators to feed on.

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