Florida’s Plant Invasion

Invasion of the Plants

The battle protect and preserve our State’s native flora

native trees at sunset

Since before Florida joined the Union in 1845, plants have played a major role in the lives of its citizens and wildlife.
Plants clean our air and water and house our birds and wildlife.
But invaders powerful enough to cause economic and environmental damage to Florida’s natural areas are a constant threat.

South Florida’s plants rise from marshes, grasslands, forests, and ponds. They border our bays, beaches and mangrove swamps. In these areas, a continuous war rages between the native plants and the invaders. There are three major players…

The Good Guys

A plant that occurs naturally in the place that it grows. If it was here when Columbus discovered America, it’s a native plant. There are over 2,800 native plants in Florida.
Examples: Bald Cypress (right), Coontie, Firebush, Gumbo-Limbo, Live Oaks, Resurrection Fern (lower left), Saw Palmetto, Sea Grape, Phlox, Blanket-Flower (lower right)

The Party Crashers

A non-native tree, shrub, vine or other species that grows in nature on its own. They are often escape artists from human-planted gardens or agriculture, seeded by birds, or imported as an exotic. They generally do not interfere with native plants or disrupt the natural ecosystem.
Examples: Avocado Tree, Mangos (right), Queen Palm, Bush Allamanda (lower left), Bamboo, Periwinkle (lower right).

The Bad Guys

Non-native species out-compete natives and take over creating what is called a “monoculture”. Florida has banned Kudzu, Skunkvine, Melaleuca trees and others that crowd out native plants important to wildlife, threaten our native cypress, disturb water flow, alter soil conditions, or interrupt the flow of storm run-off.
Examples: Melaleuca (upper right), Brazilian Pepper, Camphor, Old World Climbing Fern, Carrotwood (lower left), Water Hyacinth (lower right), Air Potato, Scarlet Acacia. See the Florida List

For more information and a complete list of invasive plants in Florida, please visit Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council or the University of Florida’s Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants (requires admin access).

According to IFAS Extension experts, of the more than 20,000 plants introduced to Florida from elsewhere
— 7% are invasive and 5% are prohibited. 

Our certified arborists and horticultural professionals can inspect your property for invasive plant species and offer advise on safe removal and spread prevention. Call (772) 546-2861 to request an on-site visit.

You can help protect Florida’s natural areas from non-native invasive plants by spreading awareness of the problem. Please consider sharing this newsletter with a friend or follow us on Facebook.