I Like Much Of Southern California’s Non-Native Vegetation

I am from Australia and I love all the eucalyptus trees in Los Angeles.

When I travel the world and find a Jewish community, I also feel happy. I love getting on the internet wherever I go in the world and check in on my favorite football team — the Dallas Cowboys.

I am not opposed to foreigners and to all non-native species. I think many of them benefit us.

On the other hand, I want there to be places in Southern California with only native vegetation. I don’t want invasive species wiping out the natives. I only want non-native species to the extent that they can be controlled and used for our benefit. And I think the same way about human immigration. Some immigrants are an excellent fit and some are not.

I Googled native vs non-native vegetation in Southern California and found this list of invasive species.

* Alligatorweed, also known as pig weed, is a pernicious invasive plant that was first discovered in Alabama way back in 1897. It’s native to South America, but was transported to North America through ballast water. It forms dense, pervasive mats that make it hard for native species to thrive. It can also impact boating, fishing, and swimming.

* The water hyacinth is known among botanists as one of the worst aquatic plants in the world. While it’s native to South America, it has infested freshwater regions of California. It’s sold in big box and garden stores because of its beautiful flowers, but tends to grow and reproduce at astonishing rates, leading to millions of dollars per year in plant management fees.

* Another invasive aquatic plant, hydrilla probably originated in Asia before making its way to California around the 1950s. It came through the aquarium trade, escaping into local freshwater areas. It’s found in deserts, the San Francisco Bay Area, and even in more remote areas like Shasta. Typically, it forms mats like the water hyacinth above, blocking water flow and causing millions of dollars of damages.

* The Uruguay water-primrose is a noxious weed that invades the water ecosystems in California and many other areas of the western United States. Again, it is a mat-forming plant that has bright yellow-orange flowers. It’s been in California for over two decades, but is growing at an alarming rate, making it a growing concern for plant biologists and conservationists.

* Giant Salvinia looks kind of like floating mushrooms or heads of lettuce. It’s yet another plant that made its way to California from South America via the aquarium trade. As a serious threat to lakes, ponds, and rivers, it will completely cover water surfaces and create stagnant waters in once-moving streams. On top of that, these thick mats will often become havens for mosquitoes.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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