The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council’s (FLEPPC) produces a list of Invasive Plant Species. They reported that approximately 6% or 79 plants in Florida are considered to be invasive. Our of the 1,400 exotic species introduced into Florida, 11% have become established outside of cultivation and are causing problems. The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council updates annually a list of invasive plants in Florida.
Loss of natural habitat is caused by uncontrolled urban development and the invasion by aggressive non-native species of plants, which are also called as alien, introduced, or exotic.
Invasive plants come from other regions and can spread out of control in their new habitats. These plants spread rapidly like wildfire and can establish themselves quickly. Losing native plants can negatively affect the native biodiversity while reducing the food and shelter for birds, insects, and other wildlife and pollinators.
Here are five of the top invasive plants in Florida:
The Australian Pine is not a pine at all, even with pine in its name. This Australia native was brought to America in the 1880s in an attempt to provide windbreaks along the shore. It is a hazard due to its shallow roots. Hurricanes and heavy storms uprooted them, making Mother Nature’s catastrophes even more disastrous as they toppled over, blocking stream flows and causing issues with erosion on our beaches. They are now illegal to plant in Florida.
A native of Paraguay and Brazil, this shrub-like tree was first brought to Florida during the 19th century and has since expanded across South Florida into the central region of the state. It matures to grow between 15 to 30 feet in height and has been named the most widespread invasive species in Florida, exceeding more than 700,000 acres.
The Japanese Honeysuckle is a well-known plant with a glowing reputation among many. Its sweet aroma and flavorful nectar make it a favorite among children, but it has a parasitic nature, strangling other plants as it stretches across shrubs and trees. The plant grows stronger as it ages, developing a thick and sturdy stem that often steals water from other trees and plants.
Melaleuca is originally from Australia. It was initially introduced by plane to soak up the Everglades and make it more suitable for human habitation, but that plan quickly backfired. As it turns out, Melaleuca reproduces rapidly and is highly flammable. The plant has quadrupled its numbers in the last twelve years as it stretches across southwest Florida, covering half a million acres. It is now prohibited by the Department of Environmental Protection.
Another plant of Australian origins, the Old World Climbing Fern, is the Napoleon of invasive species. It was brought to the United States in 1985 and has been crawling across Florida at a rapid pace ever since. It clings to trees where it smothers growing branches. It’s also a fire hazard, making it easy for wildfires to crawl up its vines and into surrounding trees, feeding the flames.
If you need help selecting native plants or removing invasive plants, schedule a complimentary consultation with Forever Green Landscape and Tree Service?
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