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Canadian Food Inspection Agency

UXBRIDGE: The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will visit the north side of Uxbridge’s Elgin Pond in the spring to identify a plant found during the summer of 2018. Goodwood businessman Conrad Richter told The Standard that the agency “has taxonomists qualified to identify Dodder to the species level.” The alarming plant known as Dodder is of the genus Cuscuta spp. and is a member of the Morning-Glory family (Convolvulaceae). It is an annual, reproducing by seed, but it has a few unusual traits that makes some of its species an unwelcome addition to the landscape. It is a parasite; it has no chlorophyll; it has millions of tiny seeds and those hard seeds can last for 60 years. Once it wraps itself around host plants, it must be physically removed and soil that may contain Dodder seed is scorched to burn the tiny seeds. Mr. Richter, who runs an herb greenhouse and is very familiar with plants and seeds as part of his commercial activities, was told about a clump of dodder by a former employee who was also alarmed by the discovery of the potentially invasive plant. “I’ve learned from Cathy Shaw that she had made a complaint to the CFIA about [it], and that lead them to me to get more information and I passed on the information. I subsequently reached out to CFIA invasive species unit, and she confirmed that if they find an outbreak, they have to put out an eradication order.” However, “Under CFIA rules they can only go after foreign species. If it is one of 7 native species, they can’t get rid of it. They’ll come out in the spring and identify it.” Taxpayers can be glad of those plant experts as Uxbridge-area naturalist Derek Connelly wrote in an email that “there are apparently 150- 200 species.” Mr. Connelly was asked to identify the Dodder at Elgin Pond by Bob Ferguson, Arena and Parks Manager for the Township of Uxbridge. “I have some training as a Master Naturalist and am a Director and past president of North Durham Nature Club. At that time I spoke with other naturalists and they were familiar with it as a native plant. At Elgin Pond it was attacking native species. It is nasty but the level of nastiness will depend on the species and its effect on the host plants,” wrote Connelly.

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