Arrest Policeman’s Helmet!

May 19, 2017
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CLICK TO REPORT SIGHTINGS OF THIS PLANT!

Policeman’s helmet leaves are oblong or egg-shaped, with serrated edges (sometimes tinged with red).

Policeman’s helmet grows 3 to 6 feet tall, or even as tall as 10 feet. Its white, pink, or purple flowers (shaped like an old-fashioned British police helmet) appear June through October.

Seed pods form after the flower fades. When touched, mature seed pods split and can eject seeds up to 20 feet! A single plant can produce as many as 800 seeds.

REWARD: HEALTHY HABITAT

Policeman’s helmet is a weed that grows in moist soil along riverbanks. It is native to the Himalayas and was introduced in North America as an ornamental garden plant but has since spread widely. It was first seen along the Necanicum River and its tributaries in 2013. Its seeds float, quickly spreading policeman’s helmet downstream. It now appears throughout the Necanicum watershed. Dense patches of policeman’s helmet choke out other plant species and reduce native plant and animal diversity while increasing the risk of stream bank erosion.

In partnership with the Necanicum Watershed Council and Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, NCLC is undertaking a three-year project beginning in 2017 to rid the Necanicum watershed of this invader. Summer stewardship interns will be pulling out policeman’s helmet in the upper reaches of the watershed in June and July 2017, while NCLC staff and volunteers work at NCLC’s Circle Creek Habitat Reserve to eliminate policeman’s helmet there.

IF YOU SEE IT:

PULL

Pull policeman’s helmet out by the roots, removing the entire plant. It grows in moist soil and is easy to uproot.

PILE

Make a pile of uprooted plants, preferably on a paved or gravel road.

STOMP

Step on plants to smash the hollow stalks. If plants have already gone to seed, carefully collect the seed pods without allowing them to open, put them in a plastic bag, and throw them in the garbage.

HELP STOP THE SPREAD OF POLICEMAN’S HELMET:

  • Do you live on the Necanicum River? Wherever you live, but especially along the Necanicum, please call us or fill out this form if you see this plant. We can help get rid of it!
  • PULL, PILE and STOMP policeman’s helmet if you see it on your own property.
  • Join our Weed Warrior Wednesdays crew, just once or every week, at Circle Creek.
  • Join our policeman’s helmet stewardship day July 8 at Circle Creek.

Download a fact sheet. For more information, call North Coast Land Conservancy, (503) 738-9126, or Necanicum Watershed Council at (503) 717-1458.

Download poster

 

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