Die, star thistle, die!

You too can help rid Bidwell Park of yellow star thistle

<i>Centaurea solstitialis</i>, aka yellow star thistle.

Centaurea solstitialis, aka yellow star thistle.

Photo By jason cassidy

While there is a park rule that reads, “No person shall destroy, injure, cut, or take any natural condition of the landscape,” the Bidwell Park & Playground Commission recently made a single exception for park visitors when it comes to Centaurea solstitialis, or yellow star thistle. The prickly pest flowers May to September, so now is the time to squat down and clear the trails with the help of the Park Division’s easy how-to guide:

• Wear heavy gloves. Star thistle has sharp thorns, and plant toxins can soak into the skin (the chemicals are not known to harm humans but can be tasted on the hands).

• To hand-pull, grasp the plant at the base of the stem and pull steadily, straight up. If you can’t pull the plant, cut it or twist it off at the base. As an annual plant most of the taproot can be left in the ground.

• Small plants can be pulled and the larger ones cut off at ground level with pruners or a sharp hoe.

• Cut plants should be bagged and discarded in a trashcan, but also can simply be placed in areas off trail where other yellow star thistle already exists. Do not place in compost green waste cans and do not place cut yellow star thistle where the plant does not already exist.