Sunday, November 16, 2008

What's an exotic invasive?

All plants come from somewhere. If a species of plant has been here for as far back as we can tell, we say the plants are native. If someone brought the plant (or its ancestor) here, we say it's exotic. (We also say it's non-native, but you probably figured that out.)

A purist might feel that all non-native plants should be taken away, but some exotic plants fit in well. They behave—they grow where you put them, and that's the end of it. They don't take over. But some plants overgrow the native population and choke the locals out. That's invasive. Invasive is bad. (That's an indication of a native—it competes more or less equally with the other plants.)

Two other words you should know are weed and monoculture. A weed is any plant that's growing where you don't want it. Monoculture is when only one type of plant occupies an area. A really good example of a monoculture is your front yard, probably. At least most folks like their front yards to be monocultures.

In future posts my guests or I will talk (write) about invasive plants and how to deal with them. We'll cover some related topics, too, such as weeds and monocultures.

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