Malaleuca Trees – (Malaleuca quinquenervia) – Invasive Plant Species – The Malaleuca tree now covers over four hundred thousand acres of land in Florida and is in Category I on Florida’s invasive plant species list which means it damages native plant species by altering their habitat or crowding them out. The Malaleuca tree was introduced in Florida beginning in 1906 by well meaning people who wanted to dry up the swamps and wetlands of Florida so it could become more habitable for people to live, and for developing agricultural and ranching operations. Unfortunately the spread of Malaleuca became uncontrolled and has wiped out much of the swamps and wetlands which people use for drinking water and native plant species. Florida now spends millions of dollars per year trying to eradicate these trees and it is against the law to bring them into the country. The tree can grow up to 80 ft and forms dense thickets of trees displacing native trees and plants. It’s bark as seen in this picture appears whitish, spongy and pealing. It releases seeds which produces even more trees. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has a good webpage describing how and why this tree was brought to America and the damage it is causing to the environment.
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