Invasive species are plants and animals introduced to an area from someplace else. These species are capable of moving aggressively into a habitat and can wipe out native species. Invasives lack the natural control that limit their growth in their natural range. Invasive species may bloom earlier than surrounding native species or have other advantages allowing them to dominate areas where native species once thrived. Several species have invaded Taylor-Bray Farm.
Phragmites is the most prominent non-native species at the Farm but several other are also present including Oriental Bittersweet, Bush Honeysuckle and Briar.
Although Phragmites is native to North America, invasive strains were introduced from Europe in the late 19th century. European Phragmites lacks natural predators and has a very efficient growth habit, so it can rapidly overtake an area. It has a hollow, bamboo-like stem and can grow to be 15 feet tall. Invasive Phragmites degrades wetlands by creating dense stands that crowd out native plants.
New invasive plants continue to show up in Black Flats Marsh. When work to control Phragmites near the boardwalk was begun, a plant called Dodder was discovered for the first time. If not controlled, these will dominate the area. A severe infestation can kill host plants.
Invasive species are primarily spread unwittingly by humans. People and goods now move around the world quickly and often carry uninvited guests with them. Invasives can be transported in ballast water of ships or insects may infest wood palettes and crates used for shipping goods. Once released into the environment, they can spread rapidly.
In some cases, species are introduced intentionally but unwisely. Without knowing the damage they can cause, home owners plant invasive species, often ornamental plants, that escape into the wild and spread wildly.
You can help prevent the establishment of invasive species by landscaping with native plants only and never transporting water or plants from one body of water to another. Most importantly, educate yourself about the various invasives in your area and help inform others of the harmful effects invasives have on the ecosystem.
These other invasive plants are also found at the Farm.
Bush Honeysuckle leafs out before native plants giving it an advantage.
Oriental Bittersweet is a deciduous, climbing woody vine that can choke large trees.
Dodder is an annual vine recently seen at Taylor-Bray Farm. Dodder parasitizes host plants by penetrating the vascular tissue of the host.