This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Plants we do not have in Rensselaer

A few days ago I got back from a road trip to the south. I noticed along the way some plants that we do not have (yet?) in Rensselaer, such as this vine growing on a hillside near the Norris Dam in Tennessee.
Here is a close-up of the leaves. This was my first encounter with kudzu, a highly invasive plant that was imported for erosion control. Now it is a major nuisance in the southeast. The plant can be useful--it makes great livestock feed, but it still serves as an excellent example of a problem created by good intentions.
Along the road, especially in Tennessee and Georgia, I noticed many small trees with purple flowers that I could not identify. Below is a picture of one after a rain.
Finally in Atlanta I got to see one up close. It certainly has a strange flower. It is called a silktree or mimosa, but its scientific name is Albizia julibrissin. It is very pretty, but it is also highly invasive and is considered to be a pest somewhat like kudzu. For the pros and cons of this tree, read the comments here.
Coming back from Georgia, I kept looking for them and saw a few in northern Kentucky and southern Indiana. My daughter-in-law says that there is one growing a few blocks from her in Indianapolis. So maybe we are not safe from them, but they do not seem to be as invasive in the northern part of their range as they are in the deep south.
They are pretty, aren't they?

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