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  Our Native Flora
From: Ted.Held at hstna.com on 2004.08.30 at 07:50:36(12117)
I think the whole invasive species thing is something to pay attention to. But realistically, it is a horse that has left the barn long ago. I know when I look upon a fallow field here in the American Midwest, that almost everything I see is a non-native species. Time after time I find a plant I don't recognize. And when I get back to my references I find that it is non-native. The flowers (knotweed, Queen Anne's Lace) are non-native. And the grasses are usually non-native. I think most of these species arrived on these shores as unintended contaminants in crop seeds and by other passive methods. Some are intentional introductions, as we know. Most of those were done (i.e. kudzu, Melaleuca) with good intentions. Later we found that it wasn't a good idea. This is not a malignancy but a reflection of our relative innocence in times past. People, especially plant people, are not the devil.

The fact, however, is that we need to address the world as it is. That is to say, we have a North America full of plants that were not here 500 years ago. Maybe this is an inexorable force of nature. But there it is. I predict that many of our natives will be preserved only as horticultural specimens, never to return to their original dominance. That's hardly a revelation to those on this list. There are many efforts afoot to try to control plants and animals that are out of control. The Nature Conservancy, for example, regularly solicits volunteer efforts to chop and pull non-native invasives from preserves that they control. That is probably a labor of Sisyphus in that it will be something they need to do for ever. But no one should think that the little efforts in their backyard plots will have much effect. So I refuse to grow a Purple Loosestrife. Fine. But the fact that all of my surrounding drainage ditches contain abundant specimens,
producing huge numbers of seeds, will continue to be the fact that determines the direction of the ecology of my region.

From: "danny wilson" <mudwasp_ at hotmail.com> on 2004.08.30 at 10:41:08(12124)
ver, very good points ted. i like to think of american as a cultural melting pot. not only a melting pot for humans, but now many, MANY different species of plants from all over the world. some introduced plants are good, some are bad. tahts how it will always be. things with all the introduced plants will eventually even out. look at Hawaii for example. at one point, every single plant/animal/fungus was no-native and introduced. all of those creatures have taken paths to create an almost unbelieveble ecosystem. most of what arrived there long ago has since evolved into an individual, or in some cases, a multitude of different species. If pistia take over a lake in florida, something that lived in the lake will eventually evolve a counter to the pistia. in nature, and especially in teh case of evolution, anything can happen to native, and even non native flora. before shunning a new plant, think about wh
at it might do in a few thousand, or maybe only a few hundred years. its worth thinking about.now im not saying go buy all you want to let everything go all over the place. taht is not the way to go at all. what im saying is, you never know.
>From: Ted.Held@hstna.com
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