Saturday, 26 September 2009

Deformed Skeleton Weed Plants

In her last “From The Soil Up” newsletter Carolyn Ditchfield drew readers’ attention to the article “Divining the Secret of Deformed Roadkill” published recently in the online magazine, In short, Judy Hoy from Montana has been observing and recording genital malformations among roadkill for many years, and attributes the root cause to man-made chemicals.

The article reminded me of observations here on Ochre Arch where we have seen deformed Skeleton Weed plants. Here is a photo of one such plant taken in June of this year. I recall seeing plants like this when I was growing up and did not take any notice.
‘Cousin James’ visited Ochre Arch not long ago. He is of the view that the root cause of the deformed plants is man-made long-term residual chemicals such as DDT. I’ve not done any research to validate his comments but have no reason to doubt that it’s at least possible. It is now over 3 years since the paddock where the photograph was taken was cropped. The soil profile is not the best, with a hard pan evident at about 10-15 cm below the surface. Maybe this is where the residual chemical resides?

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