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Experimental Crop Turns Into a Serious Threat

Pete Springer/OPB

In 2002, a private company planted nine fields of Yellow Tuft Alyssum in the Illinois Valley located in Southern Oregon, but the plant didn’t stay in the fields for long. Infestations began to turn up along a highway, in river gravels, and in the Rogue River National Forest. Now the plant, which is native to Southeastern Europe, is spreading through the valley.

Yellow Tuft Alyssum poses a threat to native plants because it spreads rapidly — one mature flower can make hundreds of seeds. The fields have been treated with herbicides to kill the flower, but the foreign weed is still sprouting. If the Yellow Tuft Alyssum continues to spread it could crowd out rare native plants that thrive in the same soil. 

Currently the Illinois Valley is the only place in the United States where alyssum has become invasive. Getting control of it is a key priority for the Oregon Department of Agriculture.



Do you live in or around the Illinois Valley area in Southern Oregon? Have you been affected by the yellow tuft alyssum? What do you think about this experimental crop?


  • Amelia Templeton: Multimedia Reporter for Earthfix based in Medford


*Editor’s Note: This post was edited for style and content.

crop experimental threat yellow tuft alyssum

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