👣 In summer I always enjoy an early-evening walk on our smallholding. No need to get in my car to find nature, I have 8.5ha right here to explore, hoping to see the Barn Owl or some Guinea fowl, but always enjoying the Bluegum trees and beautiful grasses and wild flowers along the way.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Fennel weed


Camera : CANON EOS 550D

Taken along the roadside in front of our smallholding (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa)

Foeniculum vulgare

This weed is often seen along our roadsides here in South Africa and is also found in gardens, waterways, wetlands, open woodlands, pastures, grasslands and disturbed sites. It is an upright and perennial plant with branching stems and fern-like leaves, usually growing 1.5-2 m tall, but sometimes reaching up to 3 m in height.
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Even though our smallholding hasn't been ploughed over for many years now (we just cut the existing grass), I did find a few on the property and man, I must tell you, trying to pull it out is impossible! It had to be dug out (luckily there were only three) and it had a huge root system - maybe due to it being cut down to ground level every time we cut our grass. Close-up the plant is very attractive, but as an overall picture, it looks a bit messy.

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a significant and widespread environmental weed. This species can form very dense infestations that crowd out other vegetation. It is able to out-compete small native shrubs and ground-cover plants and is likely to reduce the amount of useful habitat available to native animals. It is of most concern along waterways and in wetlands, but can also affect remnant native vegetation in farming areas. However, it is palatable to livestock and is generally not seen as a major problem in farming areas.

This species originated in southern Europe, the Azores, the Madeira Islands, the Canary Islands, northern Africa (i.e. Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia) and western Asia.

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