Black Swallow-Wort, a.k.a. Evil Pod Creatures

Perhaps I’m going a bit overboard with my angry feelings about this particular invasive plant, but I don’t think so.  Every year they infiltrate even my highly groomed garden since they multiply both by lofty airborne seed parachutes from their seed pods and underground sneaky roots.  If you have ever seen the roots – they are bright white.  And no matter how much you dig, there is that tiny speck of root that remains and starts the cycle over again.  Angry feelings emerge.  As I walk through my neighborhood, I see the evil pod creatures twining amongst hedges, along fences, and choking out plants with much better pedigrees.  I’m speaking of the Black Swallow-wort (Cynanchum nigrum, Vincetoxicum nigrum).   This is a twining perennial vine in the milkweed family which can grow from 3 to 6 feet tall.  It’s originally from France, Italy, Portugal and Spain but is now ours. It is not just evil to gardeners, but the Monarch butterfly gets tricked too.  It thinks it is a good milkweed, but the larvae die.  Watch for it and yank it out!

For more information about this invasive, go to this website:

http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/cylo1.htm