An education in a totally new area for us…Sharing the urgency…

Resultado de imagen de photo famine weed

Famine weed, found throughout the world is a deadly and destructive invasive plant.  See below for details.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Baby, mom, and dad ostriches out for a leisurely stroll in Marloth Park.

There’s no way that in a few short hours of education that we can appropriately describe the ravages wrought by alien invasive plants throughout the world.  All we can do today is share a little bit of information we learned after a chance meeting of Marloth Park Honorary Rangers, Uschie and, Evan Powell yesterday morning.

Although its impossible to conquer all of the alien plants in Marloth Park in order to protect wildlife and humans, the dedicated Marloth Park Honorary Rangers spend considerable time (their own free time) pulling out invasive plants.  In the case of “Mother of Thousands” every last bit must be pulled since it will regrow from even the most minuscule portion left behind.

We were doing the usual, sitting on the veranda on a gorgeous sunny day, watching wildlife while I prepared the day’s post.  Invasive alien plants were the last thing on our minds.

Tom heard a ruckus on the dirt road in front of our house and decided to check it out.  He thought it might be a special animal sighting which gathered a bit of a crowd.  he was surprised by what he saw.

Image result for world map invasive plants
This map illustrates how alien plants have infiltrated countries all over the world.

As he walked toward the voices he found seven or eight people sitting on foldable camping-type chairs bending over and hand-picking and pulling plants from the dry ground in this particular case, the Mother of Thousands, bryophyllum delagoense, as shown in the photo included here today.

Curious, he started talking to Uschie and Evan to discover they are a  part of a dedicated group of Honorary Rangers who try to destroy the wrath of alien invasive plants in Marloth Park.

Today, we can share but a glimpse of the devastation to both wildlife and humans.   In most cases, humans are unaware of the dangers that lie within alien invasive plants many of which are planted by homeowners here in Marloth Park and throughout the world.

When I noticed Tom was gone for quite awhile, I grabbed the camera and headed to the dirt road to encounter this same scene as Tom had stumbled upon. 

Uschie immediately greeted me and explained the nature of the group’s work.  Fascinated by their combined dedication, we started asking questions of Uschie and her husband Evan, who both dedicate almost all of their days in a variety of ways in protecting Marloth Park’s biodiversity.

As Tom and I listened to the depth and breadth of their work, they invited us to their home to learn more enabling us to write somewhat of a story on this tragic situation that could ultimately change everything we know and love about Marloth Park.

At 2:00 pm we arrived at Uschie and Evan’s fabulous bush home.  The grounds surrounding their lovely property are highly conducive to the free roaming and grazing of the myriad forms of wildlife in Marloth Park.  They, like us, offer pellets and bird seed, welcoming many species to wander about freely in a natural habitat.

After sharing some stories of how we all came to cherish this special place, they invited us indoor to watch a highly professional and educational presentation they use when educating local residents.  Some are interested…some are not.

This presentation revolved around the vast spreading of one of the most toxic and proliferating invasive plants in the world known as Famine Weed, Parthenium Hysterophorus which has spread to many parts of the world as shown in the map below.

Image result for Parthenium hysterophorus global map
World map illustrating the spread of Famine Weed, Parthenium Hysterophorus.

Need I say, we were both shocked by the influence this deadly plant has had all over the world, let alone here in Marloth Park.  From the brochure, “Alien Plants of Marloth Park” a copy of which I have as a reference, the following is stated about Famine Weed:

  • Annual weed
  • Very dangerous, invasive plant
  • Toxic to humans and beasts
  • Pale green, hairy leaves
  • Small white flowers
  • Skin and respiratory irritant


  • Pull our wearing gloves
  • Preferably before flowering
  • Do not transport
  • Bury deep

Continuing in the well-prepared brochure; Why are alien plants a problem?

  • They are highly adaptable and vigorous plants with no natural enemies.
  • They will grow in many areas.
  • They use large amounts of water and therefore reduce available water to the area.
  • They overwhelm our indigenous plants and lead to loss of insects, birds, reptiles, and mammals.
  • They invade and destroy lands that could be used for livestock, farming, and conservation.
  • These plants are often poisonous to humans and animals.
  • They increase the heat and intensity of fires.
  • They increase the risk of erosion and flooding by killing of the local bush.

What more can we say to share our shock and sadness over this awful situation in Marloth Park, South Africa, all of Africa and even in our own continent of North America and other parts of the world?

Parthenium weed: Parthenium hysterophorus

Famine weed, Parthenium Hysterophorus

Why do we write this story today?  For one reason only…in hopes of creating interest and awareness for everyone who reads our posts in taking the time to research issues of invasive alien plants their area, including the citizens of Marloth Park.

If you have questions regarding invasive alien plants in Marloth Park, please contact Uschie or Evan Powell, Marloth Park Honorary Rangers at or Facebook at parkhonoraryrangers.

Suddenly, with this new information, we have an entirely different perspective of the hard work of the Marloth Park Honorary Rangers and the responsibility that property owners must possess in aiding in the process of obliterating this toxic issue as much as is humanly possible.

The Marloth Park Honorary Rangers spend endless hours harvesting invasive plants including this “Mother of Thousands,” bryophyllum delagoense which is described in “Alien Plants of Marloth Park as “succulent, grey-green tube-shaped leaves with dark spots.  Orange-red trumpet-shaped flowers forming chandeliers at the top of the stalks.”

We won’t harp on this topic here but from time to time, we may share the progress that is transpiring here in Marloth Park from the dedication of these hard-working individuals.

Thanks to Uschie and Evan for welcoming us into their home and sharing this vital information with us and besides,  the four of us hit it off famously as we look forward to some social time together as well.   

As world travelers, we, too share a responsibility of creating awareness regarding this urgent situation as we move from country to country.


Photo from one year ago today, May 22, 2017:

Hubbard Glacier was outstanding!  For more details, please click here.