Space Invader

Over the summer months, the damp bushland of Tasmania comes alive with purple and white spires rising from the ground like alien tentacles. The Foxgloves are flowering and for many residents, this means war.

Foxgloves are pulled from the ground and thrown onto piles, but it’s a losing battle; each plant can produce half a million seeds and if the roots are broken apart, countless new plants will sprout. But this year the humans have ramped up the fight. There has been a major push to declare this species as an invasive pest and to have it banned from being sold in stores.

Records show Foxglove has been available for sale in Tasmania since 1836 and its easy to understand the popularity; it is beautiful. But like many things imported for their beauty, the environmental ramifications were an afterthought and it has long since escaped the boundaries of the garden fence.

Foxglove will invade any damp and shady space it can find and in Tasmania that sort of real estate is pretty easy to come by. However, it only tends to inhabit areas already disturbed by human presence. It seems the tentacles may belong to a bigger beast.

Sebastian Galloway


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