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Most Invasive Plant Species

List of most invasive plant species

Chinese Privet

Chinese Privet

Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense) – Chinese Privet is a semi-evergreen to evergreen flowering shrub of the olive family and has traditionally been used as an ornamental throughout the southern states. It tolerates shade, and can grow to 20-30 feet in height, often forming dense thickets, particularly in bottomland forests and field edges. In addition to physically displacing native plants, Chinese Privet has been associated with an in¬creased rate of decomposition in forest litter, which may lead to alterations in plant as¬semblies. Assembly rules are processes in nature that may help explain the existence of vegetation in various ecosystems. It may also indicate that invasion by Chinese Privet can reduce a forest’s ability to store carbon, a potential concern in reference to climate change. In addition to Chinese Privet, Japanese and Glossy Privet are common invaders in northern Florida woodlands.

Common Reed

Common Reed

Common Reed (Phragmites spp.) – Native Americans used common reed for arrow shafts, musical instruments, ceremonial objects, cigarettes, and leaves and stems for constructing mats. In coastal areas, preserved rhizome fragments dating back 3,000-4,000 years have been found in salt marsh sediments indicating that it is native to these habitats. Both native and introduced forms have been used for duckblinds. Common reed is a vigorous growing plant that forms dense stands that consume available growing space and push out other plants. It also alters wetland hydrology, increases the potential for fire and degrades wetland wildlife habitat due to its dense growth.

Chinese Tallow Tree/Popcorn Tree

Chinese Tallow Tree/Popcorn Tree

Chinese Tallow Tree/Popcorn Tree (Triadica sebifera) – Chinese Tallow, also known as Popcorn Tree, Chicken Tree, Vegetable Tallow, Florida Aspen, or White Wax Berry, was introduced from Southeast Asia, where it was cultivated for its oils and medicinal properties in the late 1800s. In the early 1900s, the USDA recommended the culture of Chinese Tallow for use in soap production, and because it is prized for its fall color and use in beekeep¬ing, it has been introduced across the southeastern states. Unfortu¬nately, it has naturalized readily, and caused significant changes to ecosystems across Florida by shading and out-competing native plants, and suppressing nearby plants by releasing chemicals that inhibit their growth. Because of its aggressive spread, Chinese Tallow has been listed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, USDA, and the Exotic Pest Plant Council as a noxious weed, the further planting of which is prohibited. It is well adapted to fire, and can reduce the flammability of an area, making prescribed burning difficult.