mexican feather grass

The invasion of the non-​native plants!

Mex­i­can feather grass

Why is it impor­tant to know which plants can be inva­sive? Inva­sive plants are a lead­ing threat to bio­di­ver­sity, sec­ond only to habi­tat destruc­tion. And $80 mil­lion is spent each year to pro­tect Cal­i­for­nia from inva­sive species. A quote from the Cal­i­for­nia Inva­sive Plant Coun­cil (www​.cal​-ipc​.org/): Across Cal­i­for­nia, inva­sive plants dam­age wildlands.….displace native plants and wildlife, increase wild­fire and flood dan­ger, con­sume valu­able water, degrade recre­ational oppor­tu­ni­ties and destroy pro­duc­tive range and tim­ber lands. I was shocked at some of the plants that are listed as severely inva­sive (as opposed to mod­er­ate or lim­ited), such as the Mex­i­can feather grass seen above. This plant is a dar­ling of land­scape pro­fes­sion­als. Other com­monly used severely inva­sive plants include some ice­plants, foun­tain grass, pam­pas grass, French, Span­ish and Scotch brooms, fen­nel, and Eng­lish and Alger­ian ivy.

The inva­sive plant coun­cil pub­lishes an inven­tory of inva­sive plants and alerts on their web­site. The IPC says Cal­i­for­nia is the home to 4,200 native plant species and is con­sid­ered a “bio­di­ver­sity hotspot”. Approx­i­mately 1,800 non-​native plants also grow in the wild in the state. The web­site, www​.plantright​.org, is help­ful and pub­lishes a form let­ter you can send to nurs­ery pro­fes­sion­als ask­ing them to pro­mote alter­na­tives for the prob­lem plants in each region of the state, such as the native deer grass shown below, a good replace­ment for pam­pas grass and Mex­i­can feather grass.

Native deer grass

Good places to buy native plants as listed by area to the left on my web­site: Ven­tura County: Matil­ija Nurs­ery, Nopal­ito Native Plant Nurs­ery; East Val­ley: Theodore Payne Foun­da­tion; Los Ange­les: Grow Native Nurs­ery at the VA; Orange County: Tree of Life Nurs­ery; San Diego County: Las Pil­i­tas Nurs­ery. Many gen­eral nurs­eries will carry native plants and they will iden­ti­fied as such.

For SoCal event infor­ma­tion: www​.paci​fi​chor​ti​cul​ture​.org/​c​a​l​e​n​d​a​r​/​s​o​C​al/

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