All posts by TCWeed

Henbane Flower

Weed of the Month: Houndstongue & Black Henbane

Some of the first noxious weeds that bloom every spring are Black Henbane and Houndstongue. Both are easy to recognize once they flower.

The houndstongue produces deep magenta-colored, five-petaled flowers along wiry stalks. Each flower will become a cluster of four burs that carry the plant’s seeds and will stick to passers-by like Velcro.

Black Henbane has foul-smelling whitish flowers with purple centers. Once pollinated, its flowers produce pineapple-shaped fruits packed with small black seeds.

Both of these plants are biennial- meaning they live for two years – and if you are seeing them in flower, this is the last year of their life. Before they die, they have one wish – to reproduce! They have until fall to produce as many seeds as they can to assure that their progency will live on for many generations. If they get their wish, we can expect a large crop of these weeds to pop up each spring for many years to come.

But since they are biennial, we have some choice in the matter. Here are our options:

  1. Find flowering adults and dig them out! They have a fairly deep taproot, but if you can dig the plant out below the root crown, it will not come back. Since both of these plants have toxins in their leaves, be sure to use gloves when pulling them out.
  2. Spray flowering adults with herbicide! Visit us at TCWP to find the right herbicide for your situation. Note that once biennial plants have gone to seed it doesn’t make sense to spray them because their seeds will still spread and the plant is at the end of its life cycle anyway. If they are in seed, pull them.
  3. Learn to recognize the plants in their first year – when they are NOT flowering – and spray them with herbicide. This is the most efficient way to control these biennial weeds. See below for identification tips.

Houndstongue looks like a cluster of long, hairy, tongue-shaped leaves with pointy tips. It can be confused with native arrowleaf balsamroot at this stage, as that plant also produces a simple cluster of leaves in its first year and those leaves are a similar shade of green. But look closely at the bases of the leaves and you will notice that balsamroot has a distinctive spade-shaped base while houndstongue leaves simply taper to a point at their base.

Whether the Houndstongue is in its first or second year, it can be pulled out by hand if the soil permits. If chopped out below the root crown, it rarely grows back. If the infestation is too large to hand-pull, purchase herbicide at TCWP and use a surfactant to be sure the herbicide permeates the hairy leaves.

Black Henbane resembles a head of cabbage in its first year. But you wouldn’t want to mistake it for an edible plant! All parts of this plant are very poinonous. If you learn to recognize it in its first year, you can chop it out below the root crown or spray it with a TCWP-approved herbicide.

Whichever option you choose, make sure you get rid of these plants before they go to seed and remember to PlayCleanGo so you don’t spread their seeds into uninfested areas.


20th Anniversary JHWMA – Current Teton County District Grant Requests

Below are some of the most notable details and results of Jackson Hole Weed Management Association’s current grant requests with Teton County.

Backcountry Horseback (2004 – Present)

Over the last five years, 4723 miles of trail and hillsides have been inventoried and treated. An average of 945 miles per season.

Snake River Project (2002- Present)

  • Began in 2002
  • In 2018
    • 63.58 acres
    • 8 new Perennial Pepperweed
    • 1 Saltcedar
    • 778 records of priority species checked yearly
  • In 2019
    • Working Dogs for Conservation

Images represent State & Private Forestry Grant Support received.

Cheatgrass (2011 – Present)

Cheatgrass is invading critical winter big game habitat of southern aspect slopes, state and federally managed elk feedgrounds, migration corridors, and Grand Teton National Park. It is threatening both habitat and wildlife health. Included below are images from our monitoring efforts to measure efficacy. (Images from 2011-2013, 2017)

2018 – Treatment Results

Esplanade (Indaziflam) plots:  Overall Decrease from 23.11% to 6.54%

Plateau (Imazapic) plots:    Overall Decrease from 18.22% to 4.28%

(More monitoring to come in 2019 via partnership with UW Weed Science grad student.)

JHWMA Cheatgrass Mitigation Project -2018 Results image.

2018 – Treatment Results

Esplanade (Indaziflam) plots:  Overall Decrease from 23.11% to 6.54%

Plateau (Imazapic) plots:    Overall Decrease from 18.22% to 4.28%

Caribou-Targhee Assistance (2016-Present)

The focus of this project is to inventory and treat invasive species along trail system leading into the wilderness (Teton Canyon pictured in images below, in addition to, isolated patches of various weed species).


We’ll continually post about our 20th Anniversary with Jackson Hole Weed Management Association with a reflection of what we have achieved in the past twenty years. Stay tuned.

JHWMA - Education Programs Students Marking Weed Area image

20th Anniversary JHWMA – Early Cooperative Efforts

Our team has accomplished a lot in 20 years. Outlined below are some of our early projects and a few community engagement activities our team has participated in. We hope you come to realize how committed we are to eradicating invasive weeds in Teton County and continuing to serve you for many years to come.

Early Cooperative Efforts:

  • Vehicles and Spray Equipment
  • Employee Housing
  • Mapping Equipment and Technology
  • Collection of Bio Control Insects
  • Sharing of Information
  • Training

Education Programs:

  • Local Events
  • Classroom
  • Weed Pulls
  • Trail Days

Gros Ventre River Spray Days

  • 2018 – 19th Year
  • 1st spotted knapweed – 1974
  • Annually crews treat 75-100 acres
  • Over $750,000 spent
  • Over 26 federal, state, local, & private businesses have partnered + dozens of private landowners

We’ll continually post about our 20th Anniversary with Jackson Hole Weed Management Association with a reflection of what we have achieved in the past twenty years. Stay tuned.

JHWMA Group Photo

Celebrate 20th Anniversary with JHWMA


Where have 20 years gone?

  • MOU & Cooperative Agreement finalized in 1999
  • Funding:
    • 2000 – $70,750
    • 2018 – $805,380




The Jackson Hole Weed Management Area (JHWMA) comprises nearly 2,290,000 acres of public and private lands within Wyoming. Approximately 11% of the area is made up of public lands administered by Yellowstone National Park, 15% by Grand Teton National Park, 62% by the Bridger-Teton National Forest, 8% by the Targhee National Forest, 1% by the National Elk Refuge, and less then 1% by the Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Reclamation, combined. The remaining 3% of the area is in state and private ownership primarily in the Jackson Hole area. The general area is commonly know as the Greater Yellowstone Area and for the most part, the area is defined as the South Fork of the Snake River watershed including all of its tributaries within the State of Wyoming. The watershed begins at its headwaters in Yellowstone National Park and ends in the Snake River Canyon at the Wyoming/Idaho border (see map Appendix A).

This area has been acclaimed as one of the most intact and important ecosystems in the United States. It hosts world renowned flora and fauna, Wilderness areas, National Parks, threatened plant and wildlife species, and the nationally acclaimed Jackson Hole resort area. These unique attributes have attracted millions of people and development to the area. Unfortunately this growth and use has brought with it an invasion of noxious weeds which are now a significant threat to the economy and ecosystem.


The purpose of the Jackson Hole Weed Management Association is to establish common long and short-term management policies, goals, and objectives necessary for cooperatively managing and funding noxious weed activities across all jurisdictional boundaries in the JHWMA. Cooperators include federal, state, county, and private land management agencies as well as other interested organizations and individuals.  This mutual aid approach to weed management will insure that the maximum efficiency and effectiveness for prevention and control is realized.

Founding Fathers

A big thank you to all of the JHWMA founding fathers for all you have accomplished!

  • Pinto Ranch: Alan Rosenbaum
  • Grand Teton National Park: Bob Schiller, Steve Haynes
  • National Elk Refuge: Barry Reiswig & Steve Brock
  • Bridger-Teton National Forest: Jim Ozenberger & Scott Fitzwilliams
  • TCWP: Fred Lemming & Brett Richardson
  • NRCS: John Kramer
  • TCNRD: Dana Bonham
  • WGFD: Steve Kilpatrick
  • UW Ext. Agent: Jay Hanson
  • Hatchet Ranch: Jerome Young

“It’s an honor to be a part of such a wonderful organization full of dedicated hard working people, who really care about protecting our natural resources,” stated Mary Cernicek, President of the JHWMA. “It’s exciting to see how far this group has come and all of the accomplishments that have been made, and even more exciting to imagine where it will be in another 10 years!”


Early Projects of the Jackson Hole Weed Management Association:

Education Programs


Early Detection Rapid Response (EDRR)

Snake River Project: A booklet describing the importance of working to protect areas along the Snake River. It targets many interest levels on, “Why should I care about noxious weeds?” Noxious weed species found along the river are described in detail and many myths are turned to fact. Free!

We’ll continually post about our 20th Anniversary with Jackson Hole Weed Management Association with a reflection of what we have achieved in the past twenty years. Stay tuned.

Dames Rocket Invasive Weed image

Weed of the Month: Dames Rocket

Invasive and non-native species were introduced for a variety of reasons. Some hitched a ride and were accidentally introduced. Some were brought along and planted for their medicinal qualities. Others, like Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis L.), were brought to North America as ornamentals.

Dames Rocket alternate image

It is hard to miss the vibrant purple flowers (they can sometimes be white) especially since they’re one of the first to flower each spring, but this mustard species is a prolific seed producer and can quickly take over an area squeezing out native species.

Dame’s rocket typically grows to 2 to 3 feet in height, but it can occasionally reach 4 feet tall. The leaves are oblong and are sharply toothed. They are alternately arranged on the stem with larger leaves toward the bottom of the plant and decrease in size toward the top. Dame’s rocket produces loose clusters of 4 petaled flowers.

When soil is moist in the spring, Dame’s rocket can be easily hand pulled. Large infestations can be chemically treated.
Looking for a vibrant replacement for Dame’s rocket?

  • Penstemon
  • Larkspur
  • Blue flax
  • Harebell

Morel Mushroom Season Etiquette

Ahh.. it’s May in the Tetons and the fungi are popping up everywhere. A particularly popular fungi are called Morels, they look like brains on a stem – a little crazy looking. Delicious if you like mushrooms, especially good on steaks, pasta or just stuffed.

Combing the woods for those gems – your eyes darting back and forth, walking through the damp grasses, the smell of fresh spring air filling the valley floor. The suspense and the excitement of finding these oddly shaped phenomenon is just part of the welcoming season change in Jackson. Sometimes you won’t see any and others you will see groves of them surrounding you, it’s pretty magical!

Out of the shear excitement, it’s easy to forget the morel mushroom etiquette.

Some Morel Mushroom Etiquette

  1. False Morels vs. Real Ones: You do not want to get these mixed up. The false Morels are actually poisonous. The real morels are hollow where the false ones are not. The Teton County Library has a lot of mushroom books to get you knowledgeable about morels and where to find them and identify them.
  2. Bring a basket or netted bag to collect: Mushrooms release their spores and when you pick them it’s wise and only right to let those spores take a journey through the woods with you.
  3. Don’t pick every single mushroom: Trust me there are plenty of morels to go around. But aside from that you want those mushrooms to drop spores so we may all enjoy them for years to come.
  4. Leave the base of the stem/root intact and in the dirt: it’s important to remember this when you harvest them, very much like #3 it encourages them to grow back next season.
  5. Never ask someone where they go: Let some things remain a secret and discover your own special Morel stashes.
  6. It’s illegal to forage for mushrooms in Grand Teton National Park: Unfortunately someone spoiled it for the rest of us but don’t worry there are plenty of places to go.
  7. Large animals are afoot, be alert and respect their space: Since this is the time of year when bears come out and begin to forage themselves it’s wise to bring your bear spray. Wandering through the woods and keeping your head down is primarily what hunting for Morels is like but be sure to keep an eye out for the four-legged creatures and their habitat you are entering.

Invasive Species to Lookout for..

Houndstongue: A plant that flowers every other year, the noxious Houndstongue creates a heart-shaped bur seed. If you have spent any amount of time hiking or exploring in the outdoors, you are most likely familiar with this seed that turns light brown and stick to clothes and animals in the fall season, as it likes to hitch a ride around by sticking to your socks and shoes or your pet’s fur. It is crucial to note that the Houndstongue is toxic if consumed in high enough quantities, because it has an alkaloid that stops liver cells from reproducing.

Although in May there are no new blooms of Houndstongue these little free-loaders resurface after the snow melt and will happily hitch a ride as you zigzag the valley for those Morel mushrooms. Kindly throw these incredibly annoying seeds in the trash can, instead of on the ground, to help minimize the spread of this incredibly annoying weed.

2019 Landowner Permission Letter

In an effort to update records, properties that have received mosquito surveillance and/or high priority invasive species control from Teton County Weed & Pest in the past may receive a letter in the mail this week to request written permission to continue control services. Control measures may have been taken in the form of larviciding standing water, adult mosquito trapping for West Nile virus sampling, or your neighborhood has requested ultra-low volume (ULV) adulticiding, in addition to, other invasive species control measures.

The form is due back to the Teton County Weed & Pest office by May 5, 2019. An electronic version of the form is available on our website as well, at this link.

All land parcels that produce or harbor mosquito species are offered free surveillance and control measures, only when landowner permission is given. The effective control of mosquito populations hinges on significant participation by our community. The Teton Weed & Pest surveillance program incorporates larval, adult and disease surveillance; local and area-wide cultural, biorational and chemical control measures (if needed); and education. Please help us keep Teton County as nuisance and disease-free as possible.

Please contact our office at (307)733-8419, if you have any further questions.

Got Mosquitoes?

Do you own property in Teton County? Please complete our landowner permission form so we can continue to provide mosquito service(s) on your property.
Stay informed!  Would you like to know when we will be in your area this summer spraying for adult mosquitoes by truck?  Sign up for our NEW text alert system!
TEXT mosquito22 to 313131

TCWP Volunteer Opportunity: EDDMapS West

Learning how to use EDDMapS West  can be a rewarding volunteer opportunity for Teton County’s outdoor enthusiasts to help the Weed & Pest District locate high priority  invasive plants. This program is designed to increase Early Detection/Rapid Response (EDRR) weed management efforts by helping local volunteers to identify and survey for twelve high-priority noxious weed species.

These 12 species are: saltcedar, leafy spurge, Dyer’s woad, common St. Johns wort, rush skeletonweed, oxeye daisy, common tansy, whitetop, Dalmatian toadflax, yellow toadflax, spotted knapweed, and field bindweed. The first four listed are the highest priority and volunteers are asked to report them anywhere in Teton County.  The remaining eight species are more common and will only be reported if found 50 feet beyond roadsides and ½ mile beyond trailheads. Teton County Weed and Pest (TCWP) maintains an extensive mapping database of weeds present on roadsides and trailheads because most of these species are transported by human activities. Learn to ID these species here!

The volunteers will use the EDDMapS West website and mobile application for reporting of the targeted species.  EDDMapS West was originally developed and launched for the six Missouri River Watershed Coalition headwater states of Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming in September 2010. Thanks to tremendous interest throughout the West, and support from the Montana Noxious Weed Trust Fund and the US Forest Service – State and Private Forestry Program, the system quickly expanded to include seven additional western states (Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington) in 2011.

This project will continue to protect habitat by using the EDRR method for responding to noxious weed infestations while there is a high potential for eradication. Native and desirable plant communities will benefit from reduced competition from  invasives to help maintain ecosystem function thus allowing for a more optimal carrying capacity for wildlife. Because of this cooperative effort, volunteers will help TCWP stay ahead of the spread of invasive species in Teton County. Learn more here!

Love Jackson Hole?

We’d love to see pictures of the way you PLAY in this beautiful area. Let’s connect and share our love of #JacksonHole and how we #PlayCleanGo to protect it for future generations!


You can also join for some fun events happening around the area! Check out our Events Calendar!