Ornamental Invasive Herbaceous Plants

There are several ornamental invasive herbaceous plants that were brought to the United States. While the plants were first brought over to be used for their ornamental beauty, they have become pests, driving out native plants, and even, in the case of vines, destroying fences, homes and other buildings that it is allowed to grow on.

Cherokee Rose

The Cherokee rose (R. laevigata) is native to Asia. This rose invades forest edges, wetland habitats and pastures, pushing out native plants. It is an evergreen plant that could be eliminated with multiple applications of herbicide. The Cherokee rose is also Georgia's state flower. It is extremely thorny. The foliage is green, and it produces white flowers. It prefers full sun, but does tolerate some shade. Unlike other types of roses, the Cherokee rose is not plagued by insects and disease. The hips provide food for birds and are edible for humans.

Kudzu

The Kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata) is native to China. This plant was introduced in the 1930s for its ornamental use, forage control and erosion control. It was soon found that the Kudzu could not be contained. This vine is known as "The vine that ate the south." It inhabits forests, cities and towns, and pastures. The Kudzu grows up to a foot per day, and can be seen covering fences, buildings, trees, signs and utility poles where it is not controlled. Multiple applications of herbicide and pulling the roots control this plant.

Purple Loosestrife

Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria L.) is of European origin and was brought to the United States in the early nineteenth century for ornamental uses. This herbaceous plant was also used as a medicinal herb to treat dysentery, wounds, ulcers and sores, diarrhea, and bleeding. It loves moist soil and has invaded all states except Florida, pushing out native wetland plants and changing the wetland's function and structure.

Keywords: kudzu, invasive plants, cherokee rose

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Cayden Conor is a family law paralegal who writes on various subjects including dogs, cockatoos and cooking. She has over 15 years of experience as a paralegal, and has been writing professionally for three years. Conor has a paralegal degree and majored in criminology, computer science (programming emphasis) and education.