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State weed board considers listing absinthe wormwood

April 14, 2018

The state Weed and Pest Control Commission decided Thursday to hold a public hearing on whether absinthe wormwood should be added to the list of banned noxious weeds in South Dakota.

Seven species are already on the list: Canada thistle, hoary cress, leafy spurge, perennial sow thistle, purple loosestrife, Russian knapweed and salt cedar.

Also known as wormwood sage, it’s now in 40 South Dakota counties, Brenda Sievers said. She is plant industry program manager for the state Department of Agriculture.

The public hearing is planned for Sept. 11.

Absinthe wormwood is native to Eurasia and northern Africa but has become common in many places of the northern United States and Canada.

A mature plant is two to four feet tall and its oil can be used for the spirit absinthe.

Many county-level weed boards have declared absinthe wormwood a locally noxious weed. Commissioner Duane Buckmeier of Prairie City said however many landowners won’t listen.

Paul Johnson, the South Dakota State University Extension weed science coordinator, told the commission pesticides containing 2,4-D control absinthe wormwood.

Johnson said his concern was thousands of copies of recently printed materials showing the seven current noxious weeds banned statewide.

Responded Buckmeier, “If we don’t (hold a hearing), we put it off again.”

The vote was unanimous. The commission also unanimously agreed to continue listing yellow toadflax as a locally noxious weed.

Johnson said pesticides haven’t been found to be effective controlling yellow toadflax.

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