Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - March 03, 2006

From: England, Other
Region: Other
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Inadvisability of importing plants from one region to another
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

I wonder if you could help me. I want to send my friends some conifer trees from England to Florida USA. I went on the Department of Agriculture site and they recommended your site for questions. Thankyou.

ANSWER:

Your inquiry raises some important issues concerning the advisability of importing a plant from one continent or region into another.

If the plant is a non-native species, it may not be adaptable to its new environment and may not survive. Unless it is to be grown in a controlled indoor environment of some sort, it is unlikely that a cold-temperate, English species of conifer would survive in subtropical to tropical Florida.

If, however, it does survive and comes to thrive, it may do so well that it displaces native Florida plants and becomes a damaging, invasive species, which would reduce habitat not only for native plants but also for native animals.

If you are wanting to import from England a species of conifer native to Florida, such as Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) or Southern Red Cedar (Juniperus silicicola or Juniperus virginiana var. silicicola), it is still risky to do so because of possible disease contamination, for which plants are regulated by both federal and state governments in the U.S. You can read the specifics on federal and Florida state plant importation regulations.

Two well-known communicable conditions transmitted by junipers are cedar-apple rust (Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae) and cedar blight, (Phomopsis juniperovora). Cedar-apple rust can spread to apples, hawthorns, and other members of the rose family and can thus damage important food crops. Cedar blight can spread to other conifers.

For these reasons, it is generally inadvisable to import plants from one region into another, which is why the practice is stringently regulated.
 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Is Canna glauca invasive?
June 10, 2015 - How aggressive is Canna glauca? I'm interested in planting one near a gutter downspout, but I'm afraid it will crowd out groundcovers (heartleaf skullcap and fall obedient plant) in the two location...
view the full question and answer

Bastard cabbage in Austin TX
March 17, 2012 - Not sure if this is the forum to address this; but is there any effort out there to do something about the bastard cabbage taking over Austin? Especially on MoPac where you can hardly see the bluebon...
view the full question and answer

How many Bamboo species are native to North Carolina? one
March 27, 2014 - I would like to know how many bamboo plants are native to North Carolina?
view the full question and answer

Information on various plants from Alamo TX
November 15, 2009 - Have you heard of the following plants: Butterfly Iris,Compact Nanpina, Red Dwarf Turks? I would like to know some details on the above plant: size, flowers?, drought tolerant, where to plant Thanki...
view the full question and answer

Use of kudzu in landscaping
April 11, 2008 - HELLO MR.SMARTY PlANTS,my question is , I need a # of kudzu plants to grow quickly for a huge bare back wall since we are selling our house & have zero anything back there.we are getting comments that...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.