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Episode 185 Five Beneficial Invasive Plants

In today’s episode I talk about invasive plants and how some of them can actually be beneficial if you just find the good in them.

*Definition of invasive species – able to adapt to new locations well and competes against native species.

*My disclaimer – it may not be a good idea to introduce these to your property (it may not even be legal) but if you have them you can fight them or accept the benefits.  You certainly won’t be getting rid of them too easily!

  • Multiflora Rose – the hips are sometimes edible.  The plant is a great browse crop for goats.  The flowers draw in bees and other beneficial insects.  The downside is that the seeds are many,  prolific and long lasting.  It can take over grazing land quickly (not a concern if you intergraze).  And thorns – those are bad too.

  • Mimosa (Chinese Silk Tree) – a pea family plant that sets nitrogen at the roots.  The flowers are large and attract bees, birds and other animals.  The downside is that its seeds are even more long lasting and it root suckers.

  • Kudzu – Edible for humans and livestock.  You can make baskets from the vines.  It also is a nitrogen fixer.  The bad side is that it pretty much grows over anything and is very very difficult to kill or control.  Perhaps the only plant that truly deserves the invasive status.

  • Bush Honeysuckle – One of the best and most persistent foods for birds during wintertime.  Great looking plant and works well to chop and drop.  Particularly troublesome in plains states.  Crowds out natives.

  • Black Locust – Good for bees, fence posts and sets nitrogen.  Native to the eastern US but a problem in native grasslands where it is encroaching.

2 comments to Episode 185 Five Beneficial Invasive Plants

  • BeninMA

    Massachusetts has just declared the Hardy Kiwi as invasive!  While I know that established vines can grow all over the place, it doesn’t easily start from seed, so it’s hard to imagine becoming anything more than a very localized problem.

  • Thanks for sharing such a nice blog.