Tuesday, March 06, 2007

When good plants go bad

A University of Vermont study shows how even the most seemingly benign plants can become invasive. In short, when you move some plants out of their natural range the take on traits that make them undesirable invaders.
It's not that you're taking the ones in France and moving them to the US and they're suddenly invasive," Molofsky said, looking over a green swath of reed canarygrass growing in a UVM greenhouse, "its that you move some plants, and then you move some from somewhere else and they recombine here to form something better, genetic superstars."

The result: in America, reed canarygrass has developed traits, like faster emergence in the spring and larger root biomass, that allow it to become a rapid colonizer. In short, the grass is still the same species, but it has quickly evolved to be invasive.
Link via Protect Your Waters.

1 comment:

bamboo said...

I hear bamboo can go crazy. But I'm actually okay with that...