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Pest plant found in Lake George

LAKE GEORGE - A new invasive land-based plant, Mycelis Muralis, has been identified growing alongside Route 9L near Dunham's Bay in Lake George, according to the Lake George Association.

Commonly known as Wall Lettuce, the plant is one of several species placed on a watch list earlier this spring by the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program. This is the first time the plant has been formally identified within the Lake George watershed.

Citizens are asked to contact the LGA if they believe this plant may be growing on their property, so the organization can assess its spread.

Wall Lettuce is a slender herb with a smooth three-foot stem that exudes a milky juice when broken. Leaves grow primarily near the base of the plant. The leaves are about 3 to 7 inches long and 1 to 3 inches wide. They are smooth with broad, terminal segments and ear-like, clasping flanges at the leaf base. Tiny yellow flowers, with five strap-shaped petals, form rounded shapes at the very top of the plant. The plant dies back after flowering, and can act as either an annual or biennial.

Due to a lack of natural predators and diseases, invasive species like Wall Lettuce can quickly become pervasive. When they do, these species can upset the ecological balance of Lake George by out-competing native plants for light, nutrients, and space. Plants like Purple Loosestrife and common reed can alter hydrological processes, and can change drainage patterns, soil water holding capacity, and resistance to erosion.

The LGA's director of education Emily DeBolt photographed a plot of the plant last week, and she and state officials identified the plant.

Dunham's Bay resident Jim Sears attended the LGA's native plant workshop last week, and brought photographs of a yellow weed he has been struggling to remove on his property, explaining it spread rapidly this year. DeBolt identified this plant as Wall Lettuce as well.

She said plant pests already identified in the Lake George region include Purple Loosestrife, phragmites, Shrubby Honeysuckle, Japanese Knotweed, Oriental Bittersweet, Burning Bush, Japanese Barberry, Swallowwort, Yellow Iris, Japanese Stiltgrass, Flowering Rush, and Lesser Celandine.

For details, contact the LGA at 668-3558 or visit the LGA Web site at www.lakegeorgeassociation.org.

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