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Native vs. Invasive plants...how do you tell?
No one wants to deliberately destroy their environment. The problem comes when we don't have specific information about the details involved in our projects and goals.
Native vs. invasive plants is that kind of problem. You'd like to support local native wildlife and wild flowers and trees...but the mix of imported landscaping materials are so pervasive you can't tell which is what! And wherever there is a gray area...there's controversy based on differing opinions. And you get more confused! So who's the authority?
Some "Native Plant Societies" are helpful...and some can be very restrictive. Some "Nurseries" are native-oriented, and some sell anything that's colorful or popular. But invasive plants have become a threat to agriculture and even our water supply, as well as native wildlife preservation, so state and federal government researchers are now making good information available about the truly destructive plant species.
Now there's an online solution. The "Invasive plant councils" for regions help consumers and professionals with well-researched lists of which plants are harmful, and whic are beneficial.
Invasive Plants in CaliforniaInvasive plants for Southern California include Acacia, Broom -- and better beneficial replacements include Bush Marigold, Bush poppy, Cleveland Sage and Coffeeberry, Redberry, and Christmas Berry....among hundreds of others! In Southern California some invasive plants also produce high fire hazards, as well!
Invasive plants in California for an overview of how to define invasive plants, their impact, and links to Invasive Plant Inventory, the list and photos of species -- both good and bad.