japanese knotweed

A more patient woman might spend many summers digging it out and joylessly applying some pathetic over-the-counter weedkiller. But knotweed is cunning: it can play dead. If the plant suspects it is being poisoned by some back-yard dilettante, it will hunker down for a few seasons and concentrate on growing its root mass below-ground. This is a plant that laughs at the gardener.

Spent a delightful day on Sunday foraging in Linn park.  Collected masses of wild garlic, saxifrage and jack by the hedge (to have in salads), comfrey for fritters, sweet cicely and japanese knotweed.  I made a compote out of the japanese knotweed with some vanilla sugar, orange juice and rind and a sprinkle of chopped sweet cicely.  It’s pretty good but to be honest I would rather have rhubarb any day.

The wild garlic went into pasta, potato salad and two different types of pesto.  The first version was with hazelnuts and second with cashew nuts. I think I preferred the smooth sweetness of the cashew nuts.  I have also discovered that my daughter will munch endless amounts of wild greens when we’re in the woods but put them in an actual meal and she won’t touch them!

Wild garlic pesto

makes about 4 jars, alter measurements if you think it’s too thick or want more cheese in the recipe

  • 500g wild garlic (about a carrier bag)
  • 250g lightly toasted cashew nuts
  • 125g Dunlop cheese (or other hard strong cheese)
  • 100ml olive oil (add more if pesto is too thick)
  • salt and pepper

Whizz it all up in a food processor and add oil until you reach the right consistency.  Pour into sterilised jars.  Add an extra glug of olive oil to seal the top and stop air getting in.  We’ll see how long it lasts!


I present you the most invasive plant we have in Quebec now. Japanese knotweed is native of Japan, as its name indicate. It is such an invasive plant that it is illegal to grow it in your yard in few countries, like in Australia. This tall plant can grow up to 13 feet! It is very surprising to see the huge space Japanese knotweed can fill up during summer. It creates a real wall of greenery. The stalks resemble bamboo and are edible. They contain oxalic acid so they have a very sour taste. There is one thing positive about Japanese knotweed, beside its beauty, its nectar is good for honey-making and pollinators seem to appreciate it.


Waking up of Red-winged Blackbirds by Natalya Zak
Via Flickr:
I have about 100 red-winged blackbirds living in Japanese knotweed. Every morning at 6:30 am they are all waking up and go somewhere only to return at 7:30 pm.


Invasive species: Not Knotweed!

Have you seen our latest episode? Invasive species are one of the biggest threats to biodiversity. Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica), is one such culprit, and is classified as an invasive species in Europe and North America. But why has it attained this less than prestigious title?

Japanese Knotweed (Or Knotgrass) did, as the name suggests, come from Japan originally and is what I would call, a bastard of a plant to get rid of. It is a notifiable weed, which means if you see it, you are legally bound to notify your local council and they must remove it. This is due to is being insanely tenacious, it can grow a new plant from a piece of stem about the size of your thumb nail!! It also has roots about 2 metres long so requires more than one application of weed killer. 
What people often forget in all their destruction of this plant, it that we intentionally brought it over to the UK from Japan, and this picture shows that it can be quite pretty when flowering.

Watch on seapinks.tumblr.com

Here’s the two piece Sea Pinks last night from various fun angles. Hopefully someday someone will film us singing another song but at least someone filmed us doing this one again in the meantime.