Alright, one more weed post then I’ll give it a rest. The species that likely needs no introduction, lantana. Originally native to tropical Central and South America, it now covers 5 MILLION hectares in Australia. Heavily branched shrub growing in thick, impenetrable clumps. Existing plants are notoriously difficult to control and seeds remain viable for 4 years. There has been limited success with biological control including introducing several species of insects. In my neck of the woods, thick lantana thickets prevent the development of a midstory in eucalypt forests, leading to the dominance of the aggressive and despotic bell miner, whose dizzying chorus and strength-in-numbers approach depose smaller and similar sized bird species from the understory. We’re fighting a losing battle here and I don’t really see how it will be won.
WEED. Japanese Honeysuckle. Evergreen scrambler, native to Japan and Korea. A highly invasive environmental weed that is capable of smothering and outcompeting native vegetation by climbing over shrubs, up tree branches and across ground flora to form extensive suckering mats which also prevent further regeneration of native species. Like many weeds, it was first grown as an exotic ornamental plant in suburban gardens, escaping to give our native bushland a very hard time. Probably the most distinctive thing about this plant is the white tongue-like flowers, which are sweetly scented and yellow as they age. These apparently can be controlled locally by physical methods (ripping them out, roots and all), but avian seed dispersal makes wider control extremely problematic. We’re not alone though, this species is wrecking havoc in many parts of the globe.
This is Blackfoot Chief Three Bears. He was at this time the oldest resident of Glacier National Park in Montana. I was inspired to paint him when I came across an old postcard that my Grandma had in her possession for who knows how long. I decided to take the entire background out to focus on the interesting shape of the subject with his pipe. I’d like to think the juxtaposition of a light background, and dark mass help reinforce that shape-centric focus. (36x36)