If you've read enough of my stories, you are well aware that I enjoy the occasional drive through the Kentucky countryside.

The Bluegrass State has a lot of incredible two-lanes that make for an excellent afternoon.

And the wildflowers here in the Commonwealth can be absolutely breathtaking, up to and including the prolific goldenrod, which, despite its beauty, makes me sneeze my head off for a good 20 minutes.

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But goldenrod is not an invasive species. I doubt it would've been designated as our state flower if it was.

Recently while out on a drive, we noticed some striking purple flowers along the side of the road. They were growing between the road and a pretty good-sized ditch. And then earlier today, I saw a Facebook post about it from Indiana where it is suggested you contact its Department of Natural Resources if you have seen it.

By the way, it's called purple loosestrife and apparently, it is a SOURCE of strife for those who have to deal with it. For, you see, purple loosestrife IS an invasive species that appears most commonly in Kentucky counties along the Ohio and Red Rivers and in Fayette and Martin Counties.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife is not a fan as it "outcompetes and replaces native plants." This, in turn, damages wildlife habitats and makes food harder to come by. And if enough of it grows around bodies of water, it can have a negative effect on the fishing industry.

Additionally, birds, humans, and water can inadvertently transfer the seeds for long distances without causing them any kind of damage.

Art Lander, a writer for the Northern Kentucky Tribune, lists purple loosestrife among his "Kentucky's dirty dozen noxious, invasive plants" and for a host of ADDITIONAL reasons not covered by Fish and Wildlife.

Bottom line, purple loosestrife is bad business--beauty that's a beast.

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Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

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