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What’s the big deal about native plants, anyway?

ecology invasive plants native plants plants

Urban Ecology Center takes lesser celandine, which is non-native to the U.S. and is now classified as a nasty invasive, as its case study in this blog post to illustrate why we should care about growing native plants and why we need to be so careful about growing non-native ones.

I’ll just quote a bit of a summary paragraph, but you should read the whole post.

So, we’ve got an aggressive plant with no natural predators to keep its population in check. This plant emerges sooner than native spring ephemerals, and therefore has the advantage of size when competing for space and resources with native plants. It crowds out native plants, leaving them with no room or resources. The native plants (that support our wildlife populations) begin to die off because they have nowhere to grow. The native wildlife that only eat the native plants are now suddenly left with very little food on the table. Fewer native plants to eat translates into fewer native animals who can survive. The diversity and size of wildlife populations quickly declines. The situation starts to look pretty grim, doesn’t it? And (in Cleveland, at least) it all started with a pretty garden plot in two homes.

 Invasive Plant to Watch: Lesser Celandine, Urban Ecology Center

All I have to do is look out my window to see uncountable stands of extremely invasive and aggressive Chinese privet, which is taking over my land and crowding out beneficial natives and which doesn’t respond to *anything* except *digging the damned roots up,* to be reminded of how bad it can suck when someone unthinkingly or unknowingly introduces a non-native species to a region and that species escapes their backyard and starts running unchecked.

The consequences can be *disastrous* and *hideously expensive.* Please, folks, do your research.


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