Thursday, November 19, 2009
Non-native and Invasive
How's this for a non-native plant? Ha! As my friend and I were driving west to a native plant nursery, we stopped for a bio break and found these lovely plastic coconut palm trees in front of a casino (yes, you can just get off the interstate and do a little gambling here). We laughed so hard that we just had to get some photos. Not just one plastic tree but three! I love the colors, the coconuts, and the irony of our trip too. :-)
I'll do a post later on some of the plants I picked up at the nursery but I had to share with you some other photos of another serious non-native that we encountered on our trip. Many of you have probably not heard that we had some serious floods in this area last month. (You probably heard about the tornado that felled a steeple on top of a car though.) In fact, many of the rivers in the area just crested last week. On our way out of the nursery we decided to drive by the adjacent lake to see the lovely cypress trees that line it. Were we in for a surprise.
This is Lake Bisteneau, a lake known mostly for fishing and boat recreation. You can see the line at the bottom of the trees where the flood waters had been.
What is hanging off the bottom of these trees is an invasive plant from South America called Salvinia minima. According to the Global Invasive Species Database, "Salvinia minima is a floating aquatic fern that invades a variety of aquatic habitats with salinity levels as high as 4-7ppt. Salvinia minima experiences exponential growth that allows it to completely cover waterways impeding traffic, blocking sunlight, decreasing oxygen levels and degrading habitat for native species of wildlife."
According to a local that we met while there, up until the floods came the Salvinia had entirely covered the lake. They had tried three different methods for getting rid of it and none of them worked. So the current plan is to drain the lake completely and hope for a freeze. I guess this may be the first time I will hope for a hard freeze. But I don't know; it looks pretty serious. That's Salvinia to the left of the boat dock, not land. In researching this plant I came across many other serious invasives in our waterways. In this global age can we adequately protect our waterways??