This non-native plant is a serious emerging invasive species with spiny, yellow flowers and leaves extending down the stem that gives a winged appearance. Because yellow starthistle propagates rapidly and reproduces very quickly, with tens of thousands of seeds annually, the plant can spread fast and cause issues like crowding out native plant species, depleting soil moisture reserves, decreasing biodiversity, and creating a less resilient natural community.
Irvine Ranch Conservancy is always looking for ways to protect, restore, and enhance the natural environment; eradicating invasive species, such as this one, is a top priority. Their invasive control work to treat the yellow starthistle includes members of the Conservancy and volunteers monitoring areas where they find this species. Once they find a threat, they hand-pull and dispose of the plant. The summer season is the busiest, as they try to treat areas before these plants flower and drop their seeds. They don’t want these seeds to get picked up by the wind and spreading far.
Irvine Ranch Conservancy and its partner, OC Parks, are still in the treatment process of this project, working diligently to help prevent the spread of the invasive yellow starthistle on the Landmarks. Volunteers interested in helping with this initiative, as well as other upcoming restoration projects, can learn more about becoming a volunteer on LetsGoOutside.org.
For more information about the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, visit IRConservancy.org or follow the Landmarks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.