Invasives: Invasive alien noxious

Discussion in 'Plants: Conservation' started by Lysichiton, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    ...weed, weedy species, registered, regulated AND confusing.

    I see & hear these terms used & I know sometimes they are used wrongly. Is there anyone with a good background in this area who could give me (& this forum) some clear definitions. The "Problem Plants for Dummies guide".

    Should I go round my garden & rip-up my Vinca minor, yard-out the Yellow Flag in my pond, hack down my Holly Tree, roundup my Aquelegias, level the Laurel & torch the Himalayan Balsam my neighbour insists on leaving in the corner of her yard despite my nagging, not to mention the English Ivy that creeps in from....Ok, I'm ranting.

    Seriously, a informed precis & some perspective would be appreciated.

    gb. Fraser Valley BC.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Only the columbines aren't raising Hell somewhere in this region. Most on your list are doing it more than a few places.
     
  3. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    You maybe skipped a list (there are so darn many it's easy)...one of them I saw noted Columbines! I am not too worried about them personally. There is an "army worm" caterpillar of a moth I'd have to look up again, that loves to munch them. Unfortunately it also likes to munch the native A. formosums that I have as well. BTW, I used poetic license. There are actually a couple of those species that are not in my garden..but my neighbour & the Himalayan Balsam is true & the other neighbour & the English ivy & the other neighbour & the Convolvulus sepium....

    gb
     
  4. dawnh

    dawnh Member

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    You're right. It can be a confusing mess as to what's a weed and what's invasive. In general, I tend to think of weeds as nuisances, invasives as capable of major detrimental changes to ecosystems. Below is a great little tool compiled from the 'People and Plants' Conservation Manual Plant Invaders : The threat to natural ecosystems by Quentin B. Cronk and Janice L. Fuller.
    I'd love to see it used more widely.

    The Invasiveness Scale:

    A scale of invasive risk has been established for species that have been well studied or whose range is well determined. The invasive categories are as follows :

    0 - not weedy or invasive

    1 - Minor weed of highly disturbed or cultivated land (man-made artificial landscapes)

    1.5 - Serious or widespread weeds of 1

    2 - Weeds of pastures managed for livestock, forestry plantations or artificial waterways

    2.5 - Serious or widespread weeds of 2

    3 - Invading seminatural or natural habitats (some conservation interest)

    3.5 - Serious or widespread invaders of 3

    4 - Invading important natural or seminatural habitats (i.e. species-rich vegetation, nature reserves, areas containing rare or endemic species)

    4.5 - Serious or widespread invaders of 4

    5 - Invasion threatening other species of plants or animals with extinction
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    >You maybe skipped a list (there are so darn many it's easy)...one of them I saw noted Columbines!<

    The list I was using was one in my head, based on what I have seen myself.
     
  6. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    ...the best one I am sure, given your experience & knowledge.

    gb.
     
  7. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    dawnh,

    That's a help. that list assists with the perspective issue. I have ordered the book on interlibrary loan. Thanks

    The plants that are currently bothering me are in the 4 & 4.5 category, since they are affecting natural or semi-natural parks & are displacing a variety of natives. Some of the one's I mention in "rant" are garden issues for me. Have you seen the spread of Holly & Laurel in Pacific Spirit?

    Well, "alien, noxious, registered & regulated" remain unilluminated". Let's leave controlled on one side :)

    For Example: In BC would "noxious weed" include Urtica dioica - the native, or only U. dioica - gracilis, which is apparently intoduced? Both hurt me when I don't pay attention. How about Devil's Club - Ouch? Laburnum- watch out for the seeds! Is this rating primarily agricultural, or urban/suburban? Who is the regulator? Who is the registrar? How many jurisdictions actually intersect on this issue in Canada?

    Other Examples: Is a plant from the Prairies an alien if it pops up in BC & displaces a related native species? Should it be controlled? How about an edible, attractive plant that starts taking over a habitat, but a lot of people say..."I like that one!" Hmm.

    gb
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    >the best one I am sure, given your experience & knowledge<

    Thanks for the compliment!

    Here in the Seattle orbit holly and ivy are particularly noticeable, lots of English laurel some places as well. Then, of course, there's Himalayan blackberry and knotweed. I have now seen two rural locations where knotweed was covering perhaps acres of riparian woodland.

    I've also seen an appalling infestation of Norway maple in a Seattle ravine park.
     
  9. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    Norway maple? Not seen that. Now you mention it, I can't think of any full size trees that are invasive in SW BC. Does anyone know of any examples?

    gb
     
  10. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I wouldn't be surprised if Acer pseudoplatanus was. Other potential candidates would be Fraxinus excelsior and Fagus sylvatica.
     
  11. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Of those three have only seen the first one forming a wild understorey here. As with Norway maple the main infestation that springs to mind is in a wooded ravine.

    The deficient summer precipitation here is a significant limiting factor, many species planted for ornament are native to regions with rainy summers.
     
  12. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    <deficient summer precipitation>
    I might add the considerable winter precipitation to that. The prolonged periods of wet mean that the soils in the Pacific Northwest are in general acid & plants have to live with "wet feet". Many European & Asian species aren't too happy unless they are in a garden with some soil/drainage amendment.

    One of the greatest places on Earth to grow Ericaceaeous shrubs is Oregon to BC West of the Coast/Cascade Mountains.

    Of course, some love it, such as Broom, blackberries & the rest of the local invasive gang.

    gb
     
  13. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor

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    >alien, noxious, registered and regulated<

    GB, I'd define Alien as truly not belonging to the biome. It would be like finding, say, Himalayan Elm trees in my high montane forests here in Ecuador. Or introducing bunnies to Australia. Equally, I'd say that Eucalypts are alien to the forests here. I'd actually go so far as to call those invasive aliens.

    Equally, although Rubus glaucus (Mora de Castilla) is native to Ecuador, I'd call it a noxious, invasive alien on the Galapagos Islands. It is also a Registered Noxious Weed under the environmental laws of the Ecuadoran Government. (so there's your answer on Registered plants... the law makes it illegal to import Mora to the Galapagos.) I'm not entirely sure how this works in Canada, but down here in Ecuador the Registered plants are illegal to import to certain areas (ie Galapagos), or to the country in general, and the Regulated ones are generally drugs or drug precursors, like Coca or Marijuana. Oddly enough, posession of Coca plants is legal within the country due to freedom of religion, but processing is not. And neither the plant nor refined Cocaine are legal for import/export.

    I'd define Noxious as any plant, native or introduced, that will vigorously dominate and choke out native vegetation. Thus, my escapee Ipomoea batatas, while a weed in my garden, is not noxious since it doesn't actually kill or choke my other plants, and because it's actually native to my area. However, Mora de Castilla is noxious on Galapagos because it's choking out the endemics.
     
  14. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    Thanx lorax,

    So, as dawnh knew about that list of invasiveness, there should be one for alienness.
    It could go from a variety of a notive species hopping a mountain range up to the bunnies in Oz - perhaps. Is there such an analysis?

    Noxious doesn't mean poisonous, nasty to the taste or hurtful to humans or animals necessarily. It refers to the capacity to "poison" a biome. Is this right?

    I'm learning a bit...It's gettting clearer now.

    gb.
     
  15. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor

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    That's certainly how I use the term "Noxious" - if the plant is toxic to humans or animals, I'll come right out and say so; I usually call something like, say, Oleander, a Toxic or Poisonous plant.

    I'm not sure if there is a scale for degree of alien-ness. If there isn't there ought to be.
     
  16. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Depending on where in the region you are even the annual precipitation is less than many other large sections of forested territory. Vancouver has a comparatively high annual total whereas Seattle and Portland do not. Plants in the opposite corner of the USA may experience feet of rainfall in a single episode (although in the middle of summer rather than winter) and southeast Asia of course is monsoonal.

    Partly the texture of the soil and the exposure determine suitability, some sites in this region support manzanita and even native cacti. Deerbrush, poison oak, blue elderberry and of course madrona can all be seen growing natively in Seattle or vicinity. There used to be a huge and hearty Columbia manzanita on the cliffs above Granite Falls, gateway to the rainiest section of the Cascade Mountains (it was vandalized, after at least 60+ years of growth and then some young Douglas firs grew up to cast a shadow over it so that when last visited it was reduced to a few spotty tufts of foliage on mostly dead branches).
     
  17. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    OK, Ron B. How do we define the overall climate on the Pacific Northwest Coast of N. Am? I have thought of it as cool wet winter, long moist spring & hot dry summer. Autmn/Fall...well it's really nice... :)

    One major factor that seems to affect plant survival in the Fraser Valley here is the combination of prolonged periods of wet weather, 14-21 days of some rain every is not unusual from Nov-Jan, with occasional solid freezing of that saturated soil in an Arctic Outflow. Definitely not tolerated by some that don't like "wet feet" & a frozen top, that would otherwise tolerate the temperature range.

    The local variation in microclimates, soils & plant survival are quite pronounced as you remind me. Variations in plant growth are the one way that these bring themselves to my notice. Seattle South to Portland I think of as Rhododendron & Azalea heaven (Rhodo tours are coming up guys!). They need a bit of watering in the Summer some years tho', don't they?

    ...Hey come on, I'm sidetracked! I'm trying to learn about Invasive, alien, noxious etc. & you guys have done a good job of "Educating Archie" here so far. Hopefully my comprehension of & communication about this subject will be more accurate from now on.

    FYI there is only one sad looking Manzanita (Arbutus as we Canajuns say) round here that I know of. I feel sorry for it every time I go up that road. It certainly is not a specimen such as you describe. There are some right at the tip of the Semiahmoo Peninsula, where the climate more resembles that of the Gulf Islands.

    gb.
     
  18. boizeau

    boizeau Member

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    In Washington State, the Knapweeds are a really invasive and ruinous type of pasture weed. The plant secretes a phytotoxin and slowly poisons all of its competition. As forage, it has very low food value to livestock
    Probably our worst pasture weed.
    On the West Side, Russian Comfrey is also quite invasive and aggressive, but so far I don't think it is on the noxious weed list
     
  19. Wolvie150

    Wolvie150 Active Member

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    As a landscaper/garner, I professionally use the terms this way:

    Wood - hard fibrous material that usually has a hard cambium, where "woody" referes to either a true wood stem or one that is more fiberous than the succulent type stems & petioles. (for example, canes vs. Aglaonemas)
    Weed - a plant were you don't want it. It doesn't have to be undesired, but seedlings or rhizomatos (sp?) plants that pop up in your bed (think 'volunteer' tree).
    Invasive - a plant that you may or may not want that grows in breadth, and possibly height, very quickly. Ivys, mint, euronymous, etc.
    Registered - usually referes to a cultivar or new variety developed by a vendor, and it is not quite the same as copyrighted, but has similar legal privilages.

    Hope that helps. I don't know if that was what you were looking for, based on the other answers...

    Wolvie
     
  20. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    Give a read to D. Theodoropoulus' book "Invasion Biology: A Critique of a Pseudoscience", and go from there.
     
  21. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm, I would remove the Hedera, (English Ivy), or at least contain it... good luck on that, the Vinca is not a bad plant per se, to invade the garden, as it looks better than most noxious weeds.

    The Ilex is great for he birds, nasty for barefooted kids to step on in the summer and usually needs pruning to maintain shape....

    Knowing what is your goal, it may be fortuitous if you can start over...
     
  22. boizeau

    boizeau Member

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    Re: English Ivy

    English Ivy is a noxious and invasive vine. It climbs into large trees and promotes rot and disease. It also chokes out the understory plants and is a poor forage for deer.
    Rats love to nest in its vines and it provides a wonderful network of ladders for rodents to climb.
    While it is probably not as rank and aggressive as Kudzu, it is a pest of a plant.
    I would pull it from the Retail, if I could.
    Not all species are that aggressive, and there are some less aggressive types, but English Ivy is spreading into our forests and wooded areas like a plague.
     
  23. Lee Larkin

    Lee Larkin Member

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    The BC Weed Control Act legislates a list of 'noxious' weeds for the province followed by regional weeds classed as noxious under the Act. The BC Weed Control Act imposes a duty on all land owners to control any 'noxious' weeds on their property. The other 'weeds' we refer to are general 'nuisance' weeds that have not been added by legislation to the Act. For more information on BC weeds you can go to http://www.weedsbc.ca/

    As you know, some of these 'nuisance' weeds are just as devastating to our environment. In the Chilliwack Forest District, the dumping of garden waste has resulted in Lamium (an escaped filler in hanging baskets) outcompeting all native herbaceous plants over large forested areas. This is scarry considering that these Lamium patches are near some of our forest associated rare plants. Thus many of the nuisance weeds are just as devastating as the noxious weeds but there is not enough public pressure for the nuisance weeds to be legislated under the Act.

    In 2002 the BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries (BCMAFF) printed a free handbook that will help in identifying BC noxious and nuisance weeds entitled "Field Guide to Noxious and Other Selected Weeds of British Columbia" by R. Cranston and D. Ralph. This handbook has good illustrations and may still be available through the ministry so give your local BCMAFF office a call.
     
  24. Lee Larkin

    Lee Larkin Member

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    By the way, our native stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is not a noxious weed. It is the host plant for five species of our native butterflies. These colourful butterflies lay thier eggs on the leaves and the caterpillars usually bite the leaf making it droop and with their silk pull the leaf into a triangle shape. From within this protective drooping triangle they munch the leaf until it is gone and move on to the next leaf. Some of the butterfly species even attach brown cacoons with amazing silver or gold spotting inside the leaf triangles, waiting to tranform into butterflies. I know they sting us if we rub them the wrong way but imagine how the world would be poorer with the loss of this plant. Take a closer look the next time you bump into a nettle. The older generation exhalts its use as a spring tonic, picking the young sprouts and cooking like spinach. My family likes to dry the leaves for added vitamins in soups and stews.

    As for the native devil's club (Oplopanax horridum), it also is not a noxious weed. This not-so-welcome branch often grabbed by hikers to pull themselves uphill is actually in the gensing family. It has all the qualities of gensing and is used herbally to aid in stabilizing diabetes. Devil's club is also being investigated for its use as a cancer cure. I find this plant an amazing example of the temperate rain forest with its huge leaves and bright red berries that are sought-after by native birds. It is truly under-utilized in the landscape.

    Finding the good in all BC native plants!
     
  25. Lee Larkin

    Lee Larkin Member

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    Blackberry, ivy, Japanese knotweed...All very competive and quick spreading. In my location I lead a group of volunteers, organized through a field nature group, to stop the spread of invasives at a 22 acre nature site. We call it "coffee cutters" as I found volunteers (as well as myself) love the social aspect of events. Once a month at 9 am we meet for an hour or two to brush cut, dig and cut out blackberries and pull ivy and other invasives, and then go for coffee. It doesn't sound like much, but we are slowly winning the battle against these invasives. Now the Japanese knotweed is another story and we feel the best we can do is to contain its spread any further on the site.
    These invasives degrade the natural habitat and simplify the diversity of wildlife species that could inhabit the area. However, years of vigilance removing invasive plants that are crowding out native plants is paying off as our list of wildlife species at the site continues to grow. Hopefully more citizens in other areas with similar passions for our wild spaces will form and join volunteer invasive removal groups.
     

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