Many plants growing in our yards and gardens are non-native plants. Some escape and grow so rapidly, they choke out native plants.
They are invasive species.
Have you ever seen a ditch or marsh filled with purple flowers on your drive north along I-75? It's probably purple loosestrife, a highly invasive non-native plant.
Invasive species are so successful, because they reproduce in three ways:
- through underground runners
- fragments (if a part breaks off, it starts a new plant)
- by seed (one plant produces thousands of seeds each year)
Invasive plants do not provide adequate nutrition for bees, butterflies or birds. They reduce the diversity of native plants and animals, as well as altering the landscape.
Common invasive plants are easy to recognize: purple loosestrife, garlic mustard, spotted knapweed and autumn olive. (See photos below)
Dig them up by the roots before flowers go to seed. Place in a plastic bag and put with your trash – not in your compost or leaf pile.
Top 6 Least Wanted
1. Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum Salicaria Wetland Plant)
2. Leafy Spurge (Euphorbia Esula)*
3. Bull Thistle (Cirsium Vulgare)*
4. Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea Stoebe)
5. Garlic mustard (Alliara petiolata)
6. Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellate) shrub
* USE GLOVES! Leafy spurge has a milky liquid in its stem which can cause a severe allergic reaction. Bull thistle has spiny leaves and hairs.