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
1 rating

Tuesday - May 15, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives
Title: Invasive plants in native plant area from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Why do invasive plants grow in native plant territory?

ANSWER:

Actually, some invasives are native, as well. Usually, invasiveness is controlled by the soil, climate or water being wrong for the non-native. However, plants don't necessarily grow where they belong, they grow where they can get away with it. If a non-native plant manages to get seeds in the ground where there are good conditions, it will grow aggressively, shading or crowding out the native plants around it. There is no natural barrier to keep non-natives nor invasives out of a territory previously dominated by native plants.

In the case of Bastard Cabbage, which we are hearing so much about, it is believed the non-native seeds sneaked in as part of an imported grass mix. When the grass seed was put in the ground, probably some of it blew away to contaminate another area right away, and the rest of the seeds grew into plants that quickly grew, flowered and seeded for still more. They grow quickly, are aggressive with long taproots that spread, and very low-growing flowering sprouts that can dodge being mowed. Read the linked article above to learn how that particular non-native invasive got going. The seeds germinate in late Fall and early Winter, and the early rosettes quickly cover the ground, shading out seeds of more desirable native flowers that were there before.

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
July 02, 2014 - Foxglove (digitalis purpurea) is not a native U.S. plant. It was introduced to the U.S. from Europe and is now considered invasive in many parts of the western U.S. It invades our forested wild land...
view the full question and answer

Pruning of Grape Kool Aid Plant in California
August 03, 2008 - I have a Grape Kool Aid plant and was told it would grow to 6 or 7 feet tall, but it is well over that and I need to know if I can prune it and if so how?
view the full question and answer

Looking for lunaria in VA
May 06, 2011 - Where in the state of Virginia or North Carolina can I purchase the Lunaria annual plant? (the purple leaf lunaria annual plant)
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine from Las Vegas NV
July 11, 2012 - I'm interested in identifying the vine shown by the leaf in this photo: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/zR3R4JSPYcCI4ESczNXWM4h8z33Cq5cyZNqSSYf9hx0?feat=directlink My mother-in-law got one o...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating evasive Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental bittersweet)
July 21, 2013 - I have Oriental Bittersweet growing pervasively in my shrub garden, strangling my shrubs and growing into my beautiful Victorian porch. I can't keep up with it! What can I do?
view the full question and answer

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