Spring Woe in Calgary

My dad made beautiful lawns. I cultivate no grass. This sort of careful sidestepping is part of the way that one generation succeeds another, I believe. And in my case it’s also how I avoid the plague that’s even now striking Calgary. I’m talking of Taraxacum officinale, better known as pissenlit and dandelion. Apparently they’re spreading like crazy in Calgary, and the city can’t do anything about it.

The reason is that provincial legislation no longer lists the humble (and edible) dandelion as a noxious weed. Alberta, like most provinces, has a Weed Control Act that lets you — nay, requires you — to do all manner of vicious things to a “noxious weed,” so defined by the regs. And the regs do not so define a dandelion this year. There you will find the nodding thistle, the wooly burdock, hoary cress, toadflax, knotweed, medusahead… and dozens more vile flora. But not the dandelion. All of which means a municipality can’t compel homeowners to root out the thing, without passing a special-purpose by-law.

The ROC doesn’t seem so bent out of shape about the golden flower. From what I can tell with a bare minimum of research and a dash across the country, the dandelion is not on the kill list in British Columbia, Ontario, or in Nova Scotia.

If, as the saying goes, “a weed is just a plant in the wrong place,” Calgary’s clearly the wrong place for the dandelion.

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