Friday, October 22, 2010

Haunted Horticulture IV - Alien Invaders!

There is an alien invader taking over Florida land as we speak. It creeps slowly across the landscape right in front of us. It spreads with the help of birds, small mammals, and unsuspecting homeowners. Wherever the alien goes it chokes out native habitats to establish strongholds of its own kind. Even more sinister, just touching this alien can be dangerous for some people. What is this strange invader?

The name of this alien invader is Brazilian pepper, Schinus terebinthifolius.

The plant was introduced to Florida in the mid 1800s as an ornamental plant. It has since taken over and continues to spread and destroy natural habitats in Florida. If that wasn’t enough to prove to you what a nasty plant this is, it’s also a member of the same plant family as poison ivy. Yes, that means that contact with the plant may cause a rash or irritation. Some people experience respiratory irritation while it’s in bloom, from late summer through November. You may see them in bloom right now.
Now that you know this alien invasion is taking place, you can help stop it! If you have a Brazilian pepper- remove it! Don’t think you can control it. Birds will eat those seeds and they will disperse them far and wide once they digest and pass them. Helping control the spread of these alien invader plants is one of the many ways you can help protect Florida’s unique ecosystems.

Click here for more information.

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