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Author: Jennifer Forman Orth

Invading your brain since 2002.

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Friday, October 31, 2003

The Big Dig

I was cruising around a hair-pin turn, before getting on the Mass Pike earlier this week, and was surprised to catch a glimpse of something flowering in the wreckage that is known as Boston's Big Dig. Anyone that knows the area I am talking about understands that it is a construction wasteland. The fact that anything was growing there at all was a shock. Turns out it was Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus), a species that is native here, but has become a successful invasive species in Europe (see here, here or here for examples). While Jerusalem artichoke is considered a problem weed in parts of the U.S., I've had trouble growing this plant in my own yard. And while I don't see it around Eastern Massachusetts much, unless it has been planted, my Big Dig sighting is a testament to this species' weedy capabilities.


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