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Remember: Invasive Species 2: Purple Loosestrife

Friday, August 7, 2009

Invasive Species 2: Purple Loosestrife


When people hear the term "invasive species" I imagine that an image similar to the plant in Little Shop of Horrors is easily conjured. Certainly, that sort of monster is not present in our park system but many other less talkative ones are. I have previously covered the Japanese Knotweed invasion in Trout Creek Parkway. The subject of this post is present in every park in Allentown that has a waterway running through it.

Purple Loosestrife is a much more attractive plant than other invasives. It has large vertical purple flowers that taper like a cone. Please make no mistake about it, despite its appearance this plant does not belong and should be removed from wherever it rears its purple head.

Some of the impacts of Purple Loosestrife are: "Purple loosestrife negatively affects wildlife and agriculture by displacing and replacing native flora and fauna, and thus eliminating food and shelter for wildlife.
By reducing habitat size, purple loosestrife may have a negative impact on fish spawning and waterfowl habitats. (Penn State University, Aquatic Invasive Species of Pennsylvania)

You can see why this plant can cause such a problem. Its presence in parks where riparian buffer work is essential is particularly detrimental. Trying to establish a native plant zone in these areas is so very important to local wildlife and stream health that a plant like Loosestrife needs to removed as soon as it is seen.

Since 1997 Purple Loosestrife has been prohibited from sale, transport, and propagation in Pennsylvania(PSU). It would seem to me that the park departments and park visitors need to become more aware of this particular plant, especially in parks like Cedar Beach where the existing riparian buffer has been infiltrated:




There is one particular plant there, a few feet from the beginnings of the riparian buffer zone that stands alone:

Funny, last week while working on the ponds a large number of park officials were standing directly across the creek from it but as of today, the Loosestrife plant remains. (Just pull it out next time guys.)

(Fail.)

It is important that we address as many invasive species as we can before they take over our parks the way Knotweed now rules Trout Creek Parkway.

(Note: The first three pictures are from Trout Creek Parkway, the rest are from Cedar Beach)

See Also:
Invasive Species 1: Japanese Knotweed

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1 Comments:

Anonymous envirotech said...

This completely took over a couple of years ago. Volunteers pulled it out, but nothing was done to maintain it not being here.

November 14, 2009 at 12:40 PM  

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