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Save Pollinators; Dispose of Black Swallow Wort

Black swallow wort is rampant in Somerville yards. And it is evil. Because of its similarities to milkweed, it tricks monarch butterflies into laying eggs on it and then the caterpillars are killed when they eat its toxic leaves.

Green & Open Somerville and the Somerville Community Growing Center have a solution...

If you pull up the black swallow wort in your yard or in our parks (i.e., Morse Kelly, along the bike path, etc.), we will give you a packet of native seeds to plant in its place. The seed pods of the black swallow wort are about to burst and so time is of the essence!

Here are the specifics:

  • Identify it here

  • Take a photo of the offending plant(s)

  • Carefully pull it up, getting as much of the root as possible

  • Put it in your trash (NOT your yard waste because we don't want it to spread elsewhere)

  • Take a photo of it in your trash container and email the before and after photos to along with your name

  • Come pick up your native seed packet at the Somerville Community Growing Center (22 Vinal Ave) during Open Garden Saturdays (9-noon)

Know you've done a good deed and tell your friends and neighbors to do the same!

See it growing on someone else's fence? Our neighbors in Cambridge say ideally you should remove as much of the plant and root as possible, but if you see it growing on hedges and fences and you don't want to trespass, pulling seed pods and tossing them in the trash (in a sealed trash bag) is an easy way to keep it from spreading to new locations.

Now start pulling!

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