- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 25, 2010

I read with bemusement Ms. Bolton’s “The federal war on weeds,” (Opinion, March 15) which mostly misses the point of the serious impact on our North American ecosystems of invasive plants and noxious weeds.

I do appreciate the cynicism of Ms. Bolton’s writing about the Scottish-sounding acronym FICMNEW (Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds). This office lampoons earnest federal, state and county governments’ collaborative efforts to control, eradicate or slow the spread of invasive, noxious and exotic plants that have colonized vast acres of the North American ecosystem.

The Canada thistle, object of Ms. Bolton’s admiration, is indeed one of those plants whose colonization of large tracts of our ecosystems is aided and abetted by herbivorous wildlife and domestic livestock. Plants that are native to other continents find themselves “unleashed” in the North American ecosystem because the competitive and biological checks and balances are absent, and in an alien environment their presence becomes anything but innocuous.

I think if any of us were to lay down in a field of Canada thistle or even Scotch thistle (another of the many invasive plants) we would hear more than the vulgar-sounding “fic-mah-noo” as we cried out in discomfort.


Crystal City, Va.

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