Thursday, 29 March 2018

Invasives Week: plants of concern

Parrot's-feather
© NNSS Crown Copyright 2009
23rd - 29th March is Invasives Week and the focus is on plants that government agencies and conservation bodies need to know about, so that suitable action can be taken. 


Throughout the week you can follow the #InvasivesWeek hashtag to find out about some of the organisations taking part in this awareness-raising week, the resources they are offering and the species to look out for.

We asked Stan Whitaker from Scottish Natural Heritage to tell us more. 

Over to Stan:    

Water-primrose
© Trevor Renals
"The European Union has placed some of the most invasive alien plants on a list of species of Union concern


"More than half of the British flora consists of alien plants but the vast majority coexist harmlessly with our native plants. Only a small minority become invasive and seriously affect our native wildlife and environment.  

Floating pennywort
© NNSS Crown copyright 2009
"There are species alerts for water primrose and various-leaved water-milfoil, which have already choked waterways on the continent. 

"Please report sightings urgently, so that they can be eradicated before they do the same here. 

"In Scotland, Floating pennywort and Parrot’s-feather are being eradicated, thanks to BSBI records. We also want to tackle Giant-rhubarb on the west coast and islands, and need your help to find out where it grows.  

"Perhaps American skunk-cabbage is too widespread to eradicate everywhere, but your records can help to protect vulnerable habitats from invasion.

American skunk-cabbage, West Loch Tarbet
© David Knott
"Records of other high-impact alien plants will help with monitoring aquatic habitats, under the Water Framework Directive. Not all sites will be priorities for control but your records will help us to build our knowledge and to prioritise future action." 

Many thanks to Stan for alerting us to these invasive plants, some of which (e.g. the Giant-rhubarb Gunnera tinctoria) have featured previously on these pages

It's good to hear confirmation that BSBI records are helping in the fight to eradicate these invasive plants. You can also read more about invasive plants in papers such as this one, co-authored by Kevin Walker, BSBI's Head of Science.