Update from the NBTC Biodiversity Committee:
DID YOU KNOW?
Dog-strangling vine is an invasive perennial herbaceous plant in the milkweed family (Asclepiadaceae). It is spreading rapidly and causing damage to ecosystems in southern Ontario.
Dog-strangling vine invasions can harm biodiversity in a number of ways. It forms dense stands that overwhelm and crowd out native plants and young trees & prevents forest regeneration. Leaves & roots may be toxic to livestock. Deer and other browsing animals avoid it which can increase grazing pressure on more palatable native plants & it also threatens the monarch butterfly!
THE GOOD NEWS:
SO FAR, we have not found Dog Strangling Vine along the Niagara Bruce Trail however it is as close as the Iroquoia Section!
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Learn how to identify dog strangling vine & if you do find it along the trail report it to us immediately so we can remove it and prevent the spread throughout our trail section before it starts! The photos below show Dog Strangling Vine in its various stages to help with identification.
Photo 1 (European Swallow-Wort dried pods…): In the fall, dog-strangling vine can be recognized by the leftover seed pods that have split open and often remain on the plant through the winter. They resemble milkweed pods, but are thinner, smoother, and often dangling. Photo by Joanne Redwood.
Photo 2 (European Swallow-Wort flowers…): Dog-strangling vine produces small, pink or maroon flowers with 5 petals in the summer (usually June-July). Photo by Laura Tuohy.
Photo 3 (European Swallow-Wort leaves…): Dog-strangling vine has glossy green leaves that taper to a point and emerge in pairs along the stem. Photo by Richard Smythe.
Photo 4 (European Swallow-Wort pods…): Newly formed seed pods are quite thin and are a glossy light green. As they mature, they will turn brown and dry out, eventually splitting open to disperse the fluffy seeds within, which resemble milkweed seeds. Photo by Fraser Gibson.