Japanese knotweed, porcelain berry, bush honeysuckle, goutweed, mugwort, garlic mustard and more – these are all invasive plants, one of the greatest challenges in caring for the Nine Mile Run restoration area.
These non-native species spread rapidly through an ecosystem, often choking out native vegetation. Many invasive plants leaf-out earlier than their native counterparts, blocking much-needed sunlight, making it more challenging to germinate and grow. Invasive plants also do not have the same nutritional value in their fruits as native plants that have co-evolved with native wildlife.
Most invasive plants were intentionally brought to our region for landscaping, medicinal or culinary uses. They are especially difficult to control due to the nature of how they spread: many produce runners (long stems that then grow new plants) and have prolific seed loads. Other invasive plants, like burdock, produce spiny seed balls that stick to clothes and animals. (Fun fact: burdock provided the inspiration for Velcro!)
Anyone can help curb the spread of invasive plants by avoiding these for yard or garden:
Goutweed (also called Bishop’s Weed and Snow on the Mountain), Periwinkle (aka vinca), English Ivy, Callery Pear, Japanese Barberry, hardy kiwi vine and European Privet.