A common experience in the life of an urban naturalist is this pair of reactions: “Hey that looks cool!” followed right at its heels by “Oh, it’s invasive.” It’s not really to the level of an emotional roller-coaster; more like going over a bump on your bike, a whee! with a bone-jarring thump at the end of it.
Now, “invasive” is a complicated and problematic concept, and I don’t want to get into the subtleties of it too much, in large part because as a nonspecialist I don’t actually understand them. I do know that people have some very strong feelings in the matter. Several years ago I read a book where the author suddenly want off for a paragraph or two about how much the Nazis loved native plants and encouraged their cultivation. The subtext, not to put too fine a point on it, appeared to be, “if you garden with native plants, you’re gardening with HITLER.” This was especially weird, given that it was not even a book about plants or gardening. I don’t even remember what it was about, because that rant drove the rest of it more or less out of my head to stay.
All this is really a preface, with apology, to pretty pictures of Siberian squill (Scilla siberica):
Siberian squill is a Eurasian native – though, puzzlingly, not actually native to Siberia – escaped from cultivation in North America and generally classed as a weed. Minnesota Wildflowers notes that:
It readily spreads itself and is difficult to get rid of, as broken roots often resprout. It is very hardy and cold tolerant, and is left untouched by critters from voles to deer.
and begs gardeners, in bold type, “please stop planting this”. Illinois Wildflowers is a little bit more restrained:
Siberian Squill is more robust and more likely to naturalize than many other spring-blooming flowers from bulbs, but it is not particularly aggressive.
For my own part, after the winter we’ve had I would greet even a triffid with some pleasure.