Environment

Most Widespread Invasive Plants In The United States

While some may be considered benign, most invasive plants bring with them negative outcomes for their adopted habitats.

Some plants are known to colonize a place by taking over the habitat or ecosystem thus becomes a threat to other species in the same ecosystem. These non-native species creates an unexpected shift and dramatic change in the ecosystem. These changes are always negative in nature. The invasive plants are mostly those that escape their original habitats, such as landscaping projects or garden where they were originally planted. They will likely thrive in this new habitat because the factors such as diseases and insect that would keep its growth in check are not present in the new habitat that it has taken over. While some invasive plants will only colonize a small area, most invasive plants are very dangerous and will completely take over the garden if not properly handled. The following are some of the most invasive plants.

Yellow Sweet Clover

This invasive plant originated from Europe and was brought to the US in the 1600s as a forage crop and a soil enhancer to improve the quality of the soil. It is a shorter biennial hibiscus plant that blooms early and grows into a bush with a height of around 3 to 5 feet. Yellow sweet cloves invade and eventually degrade the native grass by shading them off depriving them enough sunlight to grow. This invasive plant is predominant in upper Midwest and Great Plain.

Eastern Red Cedar

Also known as Juniperus virginiana or red juniper, this plant grows mainly in the eastern half of the United States. The tree was once used to make pencils. However, more suitable materials, such as cheaper woods and synthetics have replaced red cedar. Eastern red cedar is found mainly in all states the east of the Great Plains.

Curly Dock

Curly dock is a herbaceous perennial plant that is 1 to 3 feet tall with little branches. The plant is common in almost every county of Illinois in the US. The plant originated from Eurasia and was brought into the US in the 18th Century. The Curly dock can withstand drought and flooding while its seeds can stay in the ground for up to 50 years.

Shepherd’s Purse

Shepherd’s purse was brought into the US as a medicinal herb from Europe. Some people have referred to it as witches’ pouches because of its healing power. Though it is a native of Europe, the plant which grows above the ground is common in most countries around the world. In the US, the plant grows in almost all sections of the country as a common yard weed.

Dandelion

Dandelion is a sunflower-like plant that has been used as an herbal plant remedy to heal many conditions, such as loss of appetite and stomach upset. The plant is a native of Europe and mainly found in the Northeast of the US. Dandelion readily invades and colonize overgrazed habitat though that will benefit the animals since it provides enough forage for cattle as such it has been referred to as gateway invasive because of its many advantages.

Mullein

Mullein is an invasive plant that is a native of Europe, North Africa, and Asia. The plant has silvery green leaves with yellow flowers. Its introduction to America was as a medicinal herb. Their seeds are toxic and may lead to the death of animals if not properly used. The plant mostly grows on the roadside causing obstruction to the traffic if not cleared

Consequences and Control of Invasive Flora

Controlling of these invasive plants is through removal or weeding them out immediately they are noticed. Sometimes their appealing look could be misleading as harmless flowers. However, immediate action is required to stop a significant loss of vegetation especially the native plants.

Most Widespread Invasive Plants In The United States

RankMost Widespread Invasive Plants In The U.S.Counties Affected Nationwide
1Yellow Sweet Clover2,401
2Eastern Red Cedar2,284
3Curly Dock2,232
4Sheperd's Purse2,165
5Dandelion2,098
6Mullein2,092
7Self Heal (Prunella vulgaris)2,058
8White Clover2,017
9Kentuck Bluegrass1,963
10Virginia Pepperweed1,963

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