Let’s add Enchanter’s Nightshade (Circaea canadensis) to the list of obscure native plants that you will never see at a nursery that we love.
Why? Well because it seems to outcompete possibly the most annoying invasive plant—garlic mustard.
At many of our woodland restoration sites, our mechanical interventions effectively deal with frequent and shade-tolerant woodland invaders such as multifloral rose, Japanese barberry, and English ivy. We’ve noticed that woodlands that are newly freed of these pernicious invasives exhibit a secondary invasion of garlic mustard, presumably buoyed by new exposure to dappled sunlight and a disturbance of the soil.
Our followup stewardship often consists of pulling second year garlic mustard plants to defeat the seed bank over time.
We’ve noticed enchanter’s nightshade to be an excellent shade tolerant native plant to spread via both rhizome and seed to help crowd out garlic mustard. Although it doesn’t have the most showy flowers, it is still adored by many pollinators!
Let’s hear it for enchanter’s nightshade!