Invasive Plants

How many times have you been walking round a garden centre and and seen a lovely looking plant that you have bought on impulse? You get home, plant it up and nurture it, admire it and even show it off. But, 2 or 3 years down the line, you begin to regret buying and planting it. Why? Because it has started to run rampant around the garden. You now not only have one specimen plant to show off, you have dozens. The more you try to get rid of them, the faster they seem to come up.

We have all been there and done that (and some still have the garden to show it).

Some plants in their native countries are good to look at and behave themselves fairly well in their own proper environment but, move them to a different environment and they can cause havoc.

Plants have different ways in reproducing themselves. These include spreading by underground roots, rhizomes or runners, spreading by seed dispersion, spreading by suckers and generally just having a tremendous growth habit.

The following list of plants, which in no way is complete, are some of the more invasive plants. If a plant you are considering is on the list, some research is recommended prior to ground insertion. Plants with a * in front of their name have earned their special mark with their tenacious vigour. Be certain you love them, as they may be in your garden forever. In addition, please realize that the listing of one species should not be taken as a warning to include all other members of the genus.

Key to codes used
[R] Spreading by roots, runners, rhizomes
[S] Seedlings. suckers
[F] Foliage

Herbaceous Perennials & Bulbs

ACANTHUS mollis (Bear's Breech) [R]
AEGOPODIUM podagraria (Bishop's Weed [R]
ALLIUM sphaetrocephaolum (Drumsticks)
*ANEMONE vitifolia 'Robustissima' [R, S]
*ARUNDO donax (Giant Reed) [R]
ASPERIGUS, ornamental-various species [R]
*BAMBOO, various species [R]
BUCKLOE dactyloides (Buffalo Grass) [R]
CAMPANULA rapunculoides (Rover Bellflower)
CAMPANULA takesimana [R]
CENTRANTHUS ruber (Valeriana rubra) [S]
CHASMANTHIUM latifolium (Sea Oats) [S]
CHELIDONIUM majus (Greater Celandine) [S]
CORONILLA varia (Crown Vetch) [R]
CORTADERIA selloana (Pampas Grass) [S]
CYMBALARIA muralis (Kenilworth Ivy)
*CYNODON dactylon (Bermuda Grass) [R]
CYPERUS (Unbrella Plant)
DICHONDRA nucrabtga (Dichindra)
*DUCHESNEA indica (Indian Mock Strawberry)[R]
*EQUISETUM hyemale (Horsetail) [R]
GALIUM odoratum (Sweet Woodruff) [R]
GLECHOMA hederacea (Ground Ivy) [R]
HOUTTUYNIA cordata [R only in wet soil]
LAURENTIA fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper) [R]
LINUM perenne (Perrennial Blue Flax) [S]
LUNARIA annua (Money Plant) [S]
LYSIMACHIA species, except ephemerum [R]
LYTHRUM virgatum (Purple Loosestrife) [S]
MACLEAYA species (Plume Poppy) [R]
MARRUBIUM vulgare (Horehound)
*MENTHA species (Mint) [R]
MIRABILIS jalapa (Four O'Clock) [S]
MONARDIA species (Bee Balm) [R]
NEPETA species (Catnip, Cat Mint) [R, S]
NEPHROLEPIS cordifolia (Sword Fern) [R]
*OENOTHERA speciosa (Mexican Evening Primrose) [R]
ONOCLEA sensibilis (Sensitive Fern) [R]
*OXALIS some species
PENNISETUM setaceum (Fountain Grass)[S]
*PHALARIS arundinacea (Ribbon Grass) [R]
PHYLA nodiflora (Lippia) [R]
PHYSOSTEGIA virginiana (Obedient Plant)
*POLYGONUM capitatum (Knotweed) [R, S]
*POLYGONUM cuspidatum (Japanese Knotweed) [R]
*POLYGONUM virginianum (Knotweed) [R]
PRUNELLA species (Self-heal) [R]
PTERIDIUM aquilinum (Bracken) [R]
ROMNEYA coiulteri (Matilija Poppy) [R]

Shrubs & Vines

ANREDERA cordifolia (Madeira Vine)
CELASTRUS orbiculatus
*HEDERA canariensis (Algerian Ivy) [R]
*HEDERA colchica (Persian Ivy) [R]
*HEDERA helix (English Ivy) [R]
LONICERA japonica (Honeysuckle) [R]
LYCIUM chinense (Matrimony Vine, Boxthorn)
RHAMNUS species (Buckthorn) [S]
*ROSA, "wild" species (Wild Rose) [R]

And finally, don't forget probably the most well known plant for making a nusance of itself :-

The dreaded Leylandi which has probably caused more neighbours to fall out with each than anything else in history.

© copyright 1999, P. A. Owen

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