News Room banner [Photo (c) Timothy C. Mayo]

But They Look So Pretty…

Wiggins Fork photo [Photo: Ellen Vanuga]

Oxeye daisies (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum) scattered across fields and meadows, have the innocent, fresh-as-a-you-know-what look of a native wildflower. It would be, if we were in Europe, but in Wyoming it is a highly invasive noxious weed.

Here, the oxeye daisy aggressively invades pastures and roadsides, and can form dense stands that replace native species, decreasing forage production and plant diversity, and degrading the sale and transport of infested hay. It’s a problem on the Wiggins Fork, a tributary of the Wind River flowing out of the Absaroka Range, as well as in Teton County. The past three summers, this infestation on the Wiggins Fork has been the target of the Dubois Crowheart Conservation District’s annual Spray Day, in partnership with the Fremont County Weed and Pest District.

At the receiving end of nozzles emitting herbicide – which degrades in sunlight and can be applied near water – the oxeye daisy infestation on the Wiggins Fork was itself invaded by employees of the Fremont and Teton County Weed and Pest Districts, the Shoshone National Forest, volunteers from the Conservation District, and JHLT’s Wind River Program Director Ellen Vanuga. In early July the plants grow vigorously and are easily identified by a classic white daisy with a yellow center. Blue dye in the pesticide indicates treated plants, and wading back and forth across the braided Wiggins Fork adds an element of adventure to the day’s work.

This is understood to be an ongoing effort, but so far does appear to be holding the line against spreading downstream. Private landowners can contribute by learning to identify this noxious weed, and eradicating it from their property.

-Ellen Vanuga

View All Posts from 'Notes From The Field'