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

Monday, December 5, 2011

Invasive shrubbery

Over the Thanksgiving holidays my son mentioned that the bushes growing at the western edge of Weston Cemetery were honeysuckle bushes. They are easily distinguished in the fall because they maintain green leaves longer than just about any other tree or shrub.
 It is a pretty bush and I can see why people have planted it as an ornamental.
Unfortunately, it is also highly invasive and threatens native plants whenever it gets established in a wooded area. When my son mentioned honeysuckle, I immediately remembered reading calls for volunteers to help eradicate it from various nature preserves in our area. The only other plant that seems as much hated by the people trying to restore native plants is garlic mustard.

The war against the invasives is probably fruitless. The topic of invasives, however, is fascinating. A recent book, 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, is on my list of books I want to read. Did you know that there were no earthworms in the upper Midwest before Columbus? Their arrival reshaped American forests because the worms ate the leaf litter. The author asserts that the Columbian exchange "was the biggest event in the history of life since the death of the dinosaurs." How can you not be intrigued by a book discussing something as important as that?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Honeysuckle was also historically planted because it was promoted as good for wildlife. Oops.