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Butterfly dock invasive species found in Oconto County

The DNR says butterfly dock “has the potential to invade shorelines, wetlands, forests and other shaded, moist areas.”
Courtesy: Wisconsin DNR
Courtesy: Wisconsin DNR(Wisconsin DNR)
Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 1:26 PM CDT
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OCONTO COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - An invasive species known as “butterfly dock” has been found for the first time in Oconto County, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR says butterfly dock “has the potential to invade shorelines, wetlands, forests and other shaded, moist areas.”

In June, DNR botanists were called to Gillett for suspected butterfly dock in a right of way. They worked with a local contractor and Timberland Invasives Partnership on control efforts.

“It is unclear how the plant was introduced, but it was possibly planted for horticultural aesthetics or for medicinal uses,” said Amanda Smith, a DNR invasive species specialist. “Initial monitoring of the area does not suggest that the population has spread locally; however, other forms of spread are possible.”

Smith says a nearby stream could have transported seeds or roots downstream. It’s also possible gardeners shared clippings.

Butterfly dock originated in Europe and northern Asia. The DNR describes it as an “unusual and striking plant.” However, it is prohibited in Wisconsin under the state’s invasive species rule.

The DNR and partners plan to monitor the site and nearby waterways.

Butterfly dock is also known by these names: butterbur, bog rhubarb, devil’s hat, winter heliotrope, purple butter-bur, pestilence wort and colt’s foot.

CLICK HERE to report an invasive species to the DNR.

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