Invasive Plants

Salvia mexicana 'Russel's Form'


We have to remember that the term invasive is very subjective. The trouble is an invasive plant in one area is often well behaved in another for various reasons. While no plant is worth jeopardizing natural areas, it's best to keep a level head and use reason and logic when it comes to these matters. Currently there are state invasive plant lists, but they may be subject to draconian changes if we nursery owners and gardeners aren't responsible. The fear is that we will go from a black list (one that lists the species disallowed) to a white list (one that lists only the plants allowed). While it's known that invasive plants can be a detriment to local natives, it's also true that many introduced plants have had a beneficial effect on the local communities. The non-native Salvias and Australian Grevilleas in Southern California have provided a great source of nectar for the local hummingbirds and increased their numbers dramatically. (Even while domesticated cats have lowered these gains). Even in Hawaii, Malaysian Rhododendrons have provided a year round source the food for the endangered native birds that now can only live at higher elevations because of the introduction of mosquito's spreading avian malaria. Not to mention that the Big Island has almost every climate zone know to man. So I think you can begin to see how complicated an issue it is. It's always a delicate balancing act with natives, non-natives their hybrids and selections, including introduced biological controls. Even introducing natives has become controversial if you are introducing a new selection that may cross with existing native species in that location. And, after a plant has become established it never seems to come off a list, when its no longer a threat and sterile selections never get a chance because programs are based on genus and species, not the specifics.

In some areas the plant in question shows up both on the endangered list and the noxious weed list simultaneously for the same area. While we try to keep up with all 50 states and their ever changing laws, we find it's best to rely on our customers to be concerned and informed and work with us. In addition to invasive plants, new insect pests and diseases can also be spread by host plants. We always make our best effort to educate ourselves and minimize such instances.