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??


  1. Impressive pictures of the floods. I had no idea it had rained that much. Hopefully you had a safe trip through that area. Also, congratulations on being chosen as one of Horticulture Magazines "favorite garden blogs"! It is so well deserved!


  2. I love the plastic trees--so kitschy cool! I don't love the real, invasive ones.

  3. Who knew? That is amazing to realize that is a plant and not solid ground in your last photo. Pretty scary stuff.

  4. Thank goodness for the humor at the beginning of your post because the thought of Salvinia minima is depressing. Can't stop looking at the photos of it. Scary stuff.

  5. Great photos, Jean! I had heard about the flooding in Louisiana, certainly not what your area needs. The salvinia is scary stuff indeed; I thought that was grass growing alongside the boatdock--no wonder it's such a concern!

  6. The plastic palm is too funny. You did have some serious flooding. I didn't know that either. The hanging moss is just incredible.

  7. Although the plastic palms are hilarious, the thought of invasives makes me shudder. I hope you get a hard freeze to kill that stuff.

    I also wanted to congratulate you on being one of Horticulture magazines Top 20 Favorite Gardening blogs. Kudos.~~Dee

  8. I'd be laughing my head off too at those plastic non-natives. How whimsical and boy do they really make a statement!

  9. We have a little saying in Middle Tennessee...I wish we didn't...It's "Invasives are Us". Invasives show up everywhere...I hope we can find solutions to the dilemma. Thank goodness for the rubber palm trees to lighten the spirit. gail

  10. Jean,
    Great photos.
    By the way...I just passed along to you, an award I was given. The Best Blog Award. This one is easy. No confessions.
    You're under no obligation to play. This was my first award, and I enjoy your blog, so I thought I'd send it on to you.
    Thanks for sharing your part of the world with us.

  11. I hope you get a freeze to take care of that Salvinia! We have lots of problems with invasives in the Great Lakes, albeit mostly animals. I wonder if it's nearly impossible to stop these plant and animal pests nowadays.


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