Florida has been under attack by the introduction of non-native invasive trees and plants for over 100 year which are displacing our native plant communities and destroying our wetlands. Floridians were responsible for the introduction of many of the harmful plants and trees during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s when people thought swamps and wetlands were useless and didn’t serve any useful purpose for meeting the needs of settlers who wanted to establish farms, ranches and urbanize communities. One tree in particular, the Malaleuca was brought into Florida to soak up the wetlands and make the land dry. The Malaleuca did it’s job well and we now have an uncontrollable spread of these trees which continue to dry out the wetlands and displace native trees. There are many other tree and plant species that are now listed on the Florida Category I list of prohibited and noxious plants. The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council lists these trees and plants as category I or II depending on the harm they inflict on our wetlands and uplands. The FEPPC also categorizes the invasive plants by the letters (P) Prohibited by the Fla. Dept. of Environmental protection, (N) Noxious Weed by Fla. Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services and (U) Noxious weed by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. Some of the most common names of invasive and harmful trees and plants that you might recognize include the Malaleuca tree, the Australian Pine tree, Brazilian Pepper, Chinese Tallow, Air Potato and Old World Climbing fern. There are many more plants that have been introduced to our state which we should recognize and help to stop their spread and infestation of our environment. The University of South Florida has a good website which lists and shows pictures of invasive and harmful plants to our state.
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