Another nasty weed found in the basin |

Another nasty weed found in the basin

Gregory Crofton, Tahoe Daily Tribune
Gregory Crofton/Tahoe Daily TribuneIt can take years to remove the non-native Dalmatian toadflax.

Frosty green leaves wrap around the stem of a plant that blooms beautiful yellow snapdragon flowers.

Look closely at the plant, enjoy its fleeting beauty, then call the agriculture department because it means trouble.

The plant is an invasive weed from Eurasia called Dalmatian toadflax. A weed-spotting team on Wednesday discovered it on and nearby Lucina Court, a street off Wildwood Avenue near Heavenly Ski Resort.

As team members studied about 40 plants of Dalmatian toadflax in a yard, the garage door of Dennis Olson, the property owner, opened slowly.

He was curious, not angry.

“I know it’s a weed, I don’t know where it actually comes from,” Olson said.

“Turkey,” said Norman Macleod, agricultural biologist for El Dorado County.

“Hell of a wind,” said Olson, laughing. “Your welcome to spray if you want. I could care less.”

Unlike spotted knapweed, which the team discovered several large patches of last week in Meyers on Kiowa Drive and Panka Street, Dalmatian toadflax is difficult to destroy once it takes root.

“It’s not as easy a fix as some other things,” said Kirk Taylor, senior agricultural biologist for the county. “Over a space of years you can get it under control.”

At no charge, specialists will come out and spray herbicide on problem weeds identified. Or residents should wet soil holding the weed before they try to pull it out by the root, which can grow more than 2 feet.

Bag the weed and its root and be careful not to leave behind root fragments or any seeds, which on the Dalmatian are tiny, black and poppy-like. County employees will come out and pick up the bags for incineration, Taylor said.

Be careful, though. Yellow toadflax, which looks similar to Dalmatian toadflax, does live at Lake Tahoe Basin. It has narrow leaves that don’t attach to the stem. Yellow toadflax is not considered a problem weed and does not require treatment or pulling. The county weed team have noticed Yellow toadflax growing by the Transit Center at the “Y.”

The County Agriculture Department formed a two-man weed spotting team at the end of June with the $150,000 in grant money it received from the state. They expect to be examining roads in El Dorado, Alpine, Amador and Mono counties until snow flies.

Their search of South Shore neighborhoods is about halfway complete. So far, the team has discovered more problem weeds than expected.

“These guys are finding so much they are getting inundated,” Taylor said. “We’ll have to talk to some weed groups to see if they can help us.”

If you think you’ve identified Spotted knapweed, which has a purple flower, or Dalmatian toadflax, contact El Dorado County Agriculture Department at (530) 621-5520.

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or at

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