If you see these pretty pink blooms in your summer travels, take note: Benton County is looking to eliminate them at the source.

As lovely as these flowers might look, they belong to the flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus) - an invasive, noxious weed that is of critical concern in Washington.

Why the flowering rush matters

The flowering rush is of such high concern that it's on the Washington State quarantine list. But why?

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The plant is an aquatic invasive species that flourishes in wetlands. The Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board explains that it "is an aggressive colonizer and can spread by seed, bulbils and rhizome fragments. It can be difficult to control and research continues on control options."

The plant can limit people's use of shallow water habitats and threaten other native shallow water species. Because it is so good at spreading and reproduction, it can be difficult to control without precise removal procedures.

WA State Map of Flowering Rush
Washington State Department of Agriculture

What do I do if I find one?

Just chopping down or yanking up one of these plants may cause it to spread, so it is better left to the professionals.

It's recommended that you contact the Benton County Noxious Weed Board, who has local task forces as they are based in Richland. You can also contact the Noxious Weed Control Board for the state at noxiousweeds@agr.wa.gov.

Pictures of the Flowering Rush
Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board

How do I identify it?

The flowering rush blooms in the summer months, and it's only found in shallow wetlands, so its distinctive pink blossoms can be a big giveaway. Not all plants bloom though, so you may only be able to identify it by its leaves. Some pictures above are a start, but you can also learn more about identifying it through the Invasive Species Council.

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