I encourage all Times readers who have a lawn to go online and read about black swallowwort.

I discovered it in my raspberry patch and sent a specimen to the extension service.

This vine wraps itself around anything in its path and will grow to be 5 feet long. It is a member of the milkweed family. Like milkweed, it develops slender pods that when mature let loose white fluffy seedlings. Monarch and other butterflies will mistake these pods for the wild milkweed that attracts them. The butterflies will lay their eggs on the pods, but these pods are poisonous and kill the larvae.

This weed is also poisonous to livestock.

With all of the concern out there for monarchs and other butterflies, it is very important that we recognize this terrible weed for what it is and what it does. The roots are extremely resilient and must be dug up to eradicate this weed. At the very least the pods need to be cut off so the butterfly larvae aren’t poisoned. But because the weed is so vigorous, unless dug up, it will return with gusto.

Carol Lyall

Cotuit