Invasive Canada goldenrod spotted in Songjiang

Canada goldenrod has been spotted around the Chedun Art Museum and Guangfulin Relics Park, a Songjiang resident surnamed Li cautioned on the Shanghai Songjiang news app recently.

News of Canada goldenrod, an alien invasive species, causing harm to China’s ecology was the most searched news item on Weibo on November 12.

On November 16, a reporter from the Songjiang Media Center visited the Chedun Art Museum. Canada goldenrod, in its full bloom, was seen vibrant with its yellow flowers and green leaves, compared with its surrounding barren heath.

“I thought it was an ordinary flower. Later some netizens mentioned Canada goldenrod online and it struck me that what I saw might be Canada goldenrod as well,” said Li.

Since 2010, Canada goldenrod has been listed among China’s second batch of foreign invasive species.

“I was afraid the flower might cause harm to our farmland and soil,” Li added.

In the wild land surrounding Guangfulin Relics Park, a stretch of Canada goldenrod was seen growing in its peak. Some were over 1 meter high.

Originating from North America, Canada goldenrod has been growing in Shanghai for long. It is usually spotted around river banks, wild land, on both sides of highways, in farmland or surrounding farmhouses. Though its flowers look vibrant and innocent, Canada goldenrod is a pernicious grass and is nicknamed alien eco-killer, according to Qi Yufeng, senior engineer of the Songjiang Landscape Management Center.

“Canada goldenrod was introduced to China around the 1930s. Highly reproductive, it has been posing risk for local species. The flower competes with local weeds and herbs for sunshine and nutrients,” said Qi.

Qi advised residents to alert the local landscape management centers upon seeing the flower. “We normally get rid of the flower manually or with some herbicides. In spring we get rid of the flower’s saplings,” said Qi.

Chedun Town of Songjiang District has dispatched personnel to clear the Canada goldenrod around the art museum. Meanwhile, the Songjiang Landscaping and City Appearance Administrative Bureau is planning more frequent weeding to control the growth of the flower.