Invasive plant species are among the greatest threats to the integrity of natural areas.
Not just pushy garden thugs, invasive plant species disrupt natural habitats; impacting native plant species and animals, vertebrates and invertebrates.
New England Wild Flower Society, in collaboration with towns, state and federal agencies, land trusts, universities, and various conservation organizations throughout the region plus many dedicated field volunteers, is assessing the impacts of invasive exotic species on the New England landscape and engaging in projects to combat the spread of these species.
What are they?
Invasive exotic plant species are able to grow and reproduce quickly throughout a natural area, disrupting habitats and food sources for native plants and the animals dependant upon them. Local species losses result from this rapid invasion of exotic plants as native plant and animal species do not have time to adapt to habitat changes.
Some of these invasive exotic species have been unintentionally introduced to natural habitats from garden settings. Originally prized for uniqueness or reliability in landscapes, these ubiquitous, often unrestrained, plants now cause headaches for gardeners and homeowners.
Masses of seedlings can be dispersed into natural areas from nearby landscapes and roads.
How did they get here?
Beginning in colonial times and continuing to today, beautiful or unusual plants are discovered in other parts of the world and introduced here as horticultural plants. In addition, immigrants bring plants from their homelands as familiar food crops and animal forage plants. With the “shrinking” of the world and increase in world travel and trade, aggressive species can spread themselves around the globe. As people traverse the continents, plants travel as hitchhiking seeds on shoes and in clothing.
What can we do about them?
Learn which species are invasive in your region. The Invasive Plants: Know Them - Don't Grow Them card lists many of the frequently observed invasive plant species for New England.
Join the efforts of New England Wild Flower Society on the ground, in natural areas, combating these species. Learn about the many ways you can volunteer!