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Field of invasive non native skunk cabbage

Invasive non-native plants

The problem with non-native invasive plants (apart from their title being a bit of a mouthful) is that they’re really good at taking over.

They literally invade, spread and settle and there’s no room left for other plants.

The native plants that live in our Park are used to co-existing with each other. They live in harmony in an ecosystem that’s all about sharing space. That is until a fast spreading alien plant turns up and edges others out – these plants don’t share!

Our Work

We’re working in partnership with landowners, fishery trusts, government agencies and volunteers to reduce the extent and damaging impact of these species. Wherever possible, we are seeking to remove invasive non-native plants completely. This collaborative effort includes:

  • rapid response to plant diseases and new outbreaks of invasive non-native plants
  • training volunteers to get involved in projects to control these plants
  • actively controlling the spread of invasive non-native plants on our riverbanks, lochsides and woodlands
  • raising awareness of how to avoid spreading plants or plant diseases.

The Park’s Worst Offenders

  • Rhododendron ponticum soon escaped from beautiful, managed rhododendron gardens to become monstrous, wild rhododendron jungles, taking over whole sections of our native woodlands and forests. It blocks out light to the forest floor so no other plants stand a chance. We blame the Victorians for the rhododendrons – they started it!
  • Japanese knotweed, its tall and ornamental growth once made it attractive for garden landscaping. It dominates river banks and loch shores in dense stands.  Its roots go several metres deep.  They can drill through concrete into the walls and foundations of buildings and roads. It is so aggressive it is classified as controlled waste!
  • Himalayan balsam, its attractive purple flowers appeal to gardeners and bees. Its seed scatters widely from explosive pods. It can rapidly spread to dominate river banks, road verges and woodland edges where it out-competes native plants.
  • Skunk cabbage, unwise gardeners may plant it round garden ponds for its attractive flowers and foliage. But its green berries float and spread in water.  Then it colonises muddy loch-shores and wetlands downstream, crowding out native species. And yes, in massed ranks, it smells a lot!

Consider the alternatives

Rhododendron ponticum

  • Why people planted it? Purple flowers and evergreen leaves.
  • Native alternatives for your garden: shrubs like holly, crab apple, wild cherry, hazel, hawthorn and juniper.

Japanese knotweed

  • Why people planted it? Tall and ornamental, like bamboo (also invasive!)
  • Native alternatives for your garden: shrubs like guelder rose, dog rose, crab apple, wild cherry and hawthorn

Himalayan balsam

  • Why people planted it? Purple flowers
  • Native alternatives for your garden: purple loosestrife

American skunk cabbage

  • Why people planted it? Yellow flowers and grows well in wet areas
  • Native alternative for your garden: marsh marigold and yellow flag iris
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