By Roger Ball
The bright yellow flowers are beautiful to look at in the normally bland desert.
Most people who admire them think they are just other wildflowers and don’t realize they weren’t here until a few years ago and how fast they spread.
Officially known as globe chamomile, it is often referred to as stinknet.
Naturalists warn it’s an invasive weed that can create serious problems for other plants by choking them out which may have a significant effect on future years’ wildflowers.
Hugh Leedy, Sun City West resident and PRIDES volunteer, is an avid hiker and began seeing the plants in several places in the past two or three years. He has also found it in his own yard and near Deer Valley Golf Course, 13975 W Deer Valley Dr.
A retired physician Dr. Leedy first noticed the plants when leading hikes. Not knowing what they were he did some research and learned about how fast they spread and the damage they did to other plant life.
“In Cave Creek it has taken over some fields and horse paddocks. The 1700 acres that burned in Oct 2017 west of the I-17 and north of the Loop 303 has now become covered with Stinknet,” he said.
Ralph Johnson, president of the Sun City West PRIDES, a volunteer group that maintains the medians and roadside areas in Sun City West, credits Dr. Leedy with recognizing the problem caused by the plants and helping keep it under control in their areas.
Dr. Leedy is also a PRIDES volunteer.
There is concern among many government agencies about how fast the invasive plant grows and spreads. It has only been in the area about three years and already is causing problem for other plants and creating wildfire fuels.
Further information on this plant can be found in the May 15 issue of the Sun City West Independent.