The congress walk

Ha! I meant congress grass, all you political types! Congress-with-a-capital-C may bring its own troubles, but this congress grass, aka Parthenium hysterophorus, is fast becoming the bane of my life.

Part of the reason for this hysterical creature running amok in our farm is that strong men, who think nothing of riding their bikes at night towards a herd of elephants rampaging among the ragi fields, refuse to touch this weed, claiming it will make them sick. Phooey! say I, nonchalantly pulling up the dangerous weed with my bare hands. However, Wikipedia is on their side:

Contact with the plant causes dermatitis and respiratory malfunction in humans, and dermatitis in cattle and domestic animals. The main substance responsible is parthenin, which is dangerously toxic. It also is responsible for bitter milk disease in livestock when their fodder is polluted with Parthenium leaves.

And Wikipedia goes on to say: Among other allelopathic effects of the species, the presence of Parthenium pollen grains inhibits fruit set in tomato, brinjal, beans, and a number of other crop plants.

That’s a lot of crimes for one small plant. But short of importing expensive parthenium-eating beetles from Mexico or Australia (I would rather import a kangaroo or a wallaby any day), I just have to keep pulling up the wretches one by one, for the rest of my life. Someone once said golf was a good walk spoiled; they should try the congress walk!


10 responses to “The congress walk

    • That sounds terrible, and you’d better give it a wide berth. But the congress grass doesn’t seem to affect me at all, which is why I feel it’s a big joke.


  1. Blech! When someone farming with your competence, and some psycho-killer plant gets out of line manifold, I think a hoe should take over. Pulling weeds by hand is too arduous and in this case, evidently potentially toxic. Farming has its bumps in the road, but it sounds like you’re dealing with a boa constrictor when you were only digging for fishing worms! This plant seems to be genetically encoded for revenge! This is most disheartening, Harini! I pray a solution will be found.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lauren! Was that phrase ‘your conpetence’ used tongue in cheek? I hope so, because we are still bungling amateurs, maybe in five years we can claim some competence. As for the congress grass, it doesn’t seem to affect me at all, and I genuinely find it hilarious that these brave, brawny men are so scared of it. Guess I have a weird sense of humour!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Harini, I admire your family’s competence and determination. I did not mean it to be tongue and cheek. Your learning curve looks steady and upward to me. πŸ‘

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, that’s really sweet of you. And maybe you are a little right, but it’s lucky we don’t have to make our living out of this! We do need to break even pretty soon, though.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yikes! Maybe grow something a little more profitable would help. Sweet grapes and berries are usually a hit, but I’m a Yank with limited planetary perspective. . .

        Liked by 1 person

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