Thursday, July 26, 2018

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: What Is "Bryony?"

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What Is "Bryony?"

How and when I decided to give John Simons' wife the name of a poisnous vine and then encase his mansion in it is lost in obscurity. I only remember. rejecting "ivy" and recalling the name, "Briony," from Ruth M. Arthur's "A Candle in her Room." Coincidentally, and not on purpose (Honest!), Briony's older sister in that book is named, "Melissa."

At the time, I thought Briony's meaning had something to do with briars. When I researched the name, I discovered it was actually an obnoxious, toxic weed, with predator-type qualities, so perfect for a vampire novel.

Below are a few facts about Bryony, complements of the Montana State University and its July 28, 2009 press release, "Fast-growing, noxious weed, white bryony, found in Bozeman." ( First, its description:

* Bryony can grow up to 6 inches a day and quickly cover the sides and tops of trees.
* Its rooting system can be up to 18 inches in length and resembles a white turnip.
* White bryony has dark green, palmately lobed leaves, each with an associated tendril.
* The flowers are small, yellow-green or yellow-white, and are located in the leaf axils.
* The fruit is a round berry, which turns black as it ripens.
* Birds eat and spread these fruits. The fruits are highly toxic to humans and animals.

White bryony first appeared in United States during the 1970s. Its nickname is "Kudzu of the Northwest." Here's why:

* Bryony's rapid growth can block all light to the host plant.
* Heavy winter snow can accumulate on bryony and break the branches of the host plant.
* Following breakage, disease and insects may invade the host plant.
* The spread of white bryony can reduce wind protection for people and livestock.
* It can also lead to loss of wildlife habitat.

One must exercise caution when removing bryony:

* Wear protective gear (gloves, long sleeves), as bryony can irritate skin.
* Certain, effective herbicides can be hazardous to the host species.
* To apply, Pull the bryony vine away from the plant before applying.
* Several applications may be necessary.
* White bryony regenerates from the root, so severing the vines is not as effective.
* Root damage is the most effective control method. Cut roots several inches below the soil.
* This must be done in autumn, after the leaves have died.
* Watch for new plants and repeat.

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