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Friday - March 26, 2004

From: Washington, DC
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Smarty Plants on Invasive Plants
Answered by: Jil M. Swearingen, National Park Service

QUESTION:

How many plants are invasive?

ANSWER:

According to the Plant Conservation Alliance’s Alien Plant Working Group, about 1,100 plant species have been reported as being invasive in natural areas in the United States. This number represents an astonishing one-third or so of the exotic plant species established and self-reproducing in the wild. Some invasive species were planted intentionally for erosion control, livestock grazing, wildlife habitat enhancement, and ornamental purposes. Others have escaped from arboretums, botanical gardens, and our own backyards. Free from the complex array of natural controls present in their native lands, including herbivores, parasites, and diseases, exotic plants may experience rapid and unrestricted growth in novel environments.
 

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