Nonnative Species

Invasive non-native plants is a mouthful. It means aggressive plant species that are not original to the particular area they now occupy. They may have come from as far away as Asia or as near as the next state. Most have been introduced by human activity sometimes on purpose (such as for groundcover, or ornamental plants that “escapes cultivation”), sometimes by accident. Such visitor plants, free of the natural animal and insect predators from their native turf, go wild with their new freedom. Non-native species disrupt natural ecological processes by crowing out and replacing native plants and animals through competition for space, light and water, and by creating new habitat conditions inhospitable to other natives. At C&O Canal, non-native plants are the most significant immediate threat to park natural resources and are a particular problem because of the competition they present to the very large number of state rare, threatened, and endangered plant species. The park is focusing efforts to reduce non-native plants in the Potomac Gorge area of the park where non-native species such as Mimosa, Japanese stiltgrass and Japanese honeysuckle threaten to carpet large areas of park land.

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