Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore is closed until further notice to ensure the safety of residents, visitors, and sensitive habitat.

Battling the Stinknet

Apr 25, 2022 | MSHCP, News

Updated June 26, 2023

You are relaxing in your garden and spy ugly weeds. Seizing your gardening gloves and a spade, you quickly remove them and keep your eyes peeled for other invaders. Similarly, on the thousands of acres of land protected by the MSHCP, the RCA regularly battles invasive plants that affect protected habitats.

One of these invasive plant species is the Oncosiphon pilulifer or stinknet. While beautiful with ball-shaped yellow flowers, the plant has a pungent odor. Native to South Africa, the stinknet blooms from late February through May. Over the last few decades, the plant has increasingly impacted lands from Arizona to southern California, including in our backyard in western Riverside County. It has become such a nuisance that our friends at the Riverside County Habitat Conservation Agency regularly track the stinknet and have resources to help you identify the problems they create in western Riverside County.

Left undisturbed, the stinknet can grow in concentrated sections and choke out native plants, such as the San Jacinto crownscale, found only in the San Jacinto Valley. The photo above shows how the stinknet can grow through a bouquet of crownscales.

In 2023, the stinknet battle continues. Due to the recent heavy rains and fires, the stinknet continues to be a significant problem in our areas. Our MSHCP-contracted teams recently went out to the Fairview burn scars and cleared 100 acres of sporadic stinknet that sprouted after the fire. Clearing this area of stinknet on the RCA-owned Bautista Canyon property was necessary to maintain habitat for the endangered quino checkerspot butterfly.

The work was hard and tedious but also rewarding. In addition to acquiring land for the MSHCP reserve, the RCA monitors the welfare of protected species by managing conserved lands to help animals and plants thrive.