In some cases, the spread of invasive plants may be helpful; on the other, they pose a severe level of threat to native biodiversity and natural habitat. When an invasive plant is in a new environment, it quickly takes over and spreads at a vast rate. As a result, invasive plants create biological pollution by reducing the biodiversity of the area. Over the years, due to trade, colonization, and other factors, people have unknowingly brought invasive plants to foreign lands, where they have gradually affected the local biodiversity.
Common Invasive Plants
The origins of this plant come from Europe or temperate Asia. This particular plant was brought to America in the early 1800s for its medicinal and ornamental uses. However, over the years, this plant has taken over most states and has resulted in being a dominant plant species in the wetlands. A single plant of Purple Loosestrife can produce as many as two million widespread seeds in a single year, and the underground stems of this pretty looking plant grow up to one foot per year.
In 1806, the Japanese honeysuckle was brought to America from eastern Asia for erosion control and its ornamental purposes. Over the years, this particular species has become the most invasive type of honeysuckle. This plant is in abundance on much of the east coast as it can adapt to a wide range of weather conditions. Although it is a stunning plant, it is an aggressive grower and shades, smothers, and girdles the growth of any other vegetation around it. The fact that birds love to eat the fruit of this plant also does not help the case.
Originally from Japan, this plant was introduced in America in the 1800s for ornamental uses. The plant seeds were from Russia as an alternative to European Barberry to the Arnold Arboretum in 1875. You can easily find the plant in the forest lands in Northeast America. These shrubs grow best in shades and form a dense thicket curbing the growth of any native plant in its vicinity. Bees quickly disperse the seeds of this plant.
John Bartram, a well-known plant explorer, first introduced this plant to the United States from England in 1756. The Norway Maple, a highly adaptable tree, became highly famous quickly and was grown around towns as a shade tree. The origins of this plant may be in Europe, but it did well on American soil and can dominate the Northeast and Northwest landscapes. The Norway Maple displaces the native sugar maple and stops wildflowers’ growth through its dense canopy shades.
English ivy was first on American soil back in the 1700s when European colonists imported the plant into America as an adequate and easy-to-grow ground cover. To date, this plant is sold and grown in America and is one of the worst invasive plants present in the country, owing to its ability to adapt to various terrains and weather conditions.
The plant is mainly on the east and west coasts of America. English ivy is an aggressively growing plant and kills the growth of any other greens in its vicinity; the plant can kill trees by restricting the exposure to sunlight. In addition, the seeds of this plant are widely dispersed by bees and birds, leading to the constant growth of this plant.
What’s the worst invasive plant species? Simple, Kudzu! You might have seen pictures of a vast land where you see a blanket of green leaves; there is not a single speck of anything else visible. That is what Kudzu does. Kudzu was first brought to America by Japan and introduced at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876. The plant was seen as an ornamental plant and was later a forage crop.
In the 1930s – 1940s, a million-acre of Kudzu was perfect for combating soil erosion in deforested lands. By the 1950s, the planters (the Soil Conservation Service) realized their mistake and regarded the crop as an invasive plant. Once planted, the Kudzu can grow up to one foot a day and 60 feet per year. This vigorous vine kills trees and plants by growing over them, covering every inch like a vast green blanket, adding weight, restricting sunlight, and toppling them.
Introducing new species might not always be wrong, but there are a few bad seeds among all crowds. Invasive plants threaten the local diversity, and many such plants have already altered the environment’s biodiversity. Always be sure to follow local guidelines so that you do not participate in the transfer of invasive plants and trees.