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Have You Been Invaded?

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by Marjory Wildcraft

Have You Been Invaded?

Being able to identify and use plants is a critical skill for living sustainably. Botany is not the easiest thing to pick up, so anywhere you can get a chance to learn a bit more, take advantage of it. Sometimes you have to be a bit creative. Did you know there is a war on invasive plants? And that many of these plants are edible or medicinal?

The stated objective of the Forest Service is eradication of some plants they say are invasive Personally, I doubt eradication will work. You know, there is a basic law to the universe that can be summarized as this: “what you resist, persists”.

Invasive species, by their nature are abundant and getting more so. That means these are plants you are most likely to find, and are good candidates to learn first. As I’ve mentioned before, botany isn’t easy.  I was surprised and pleased to find so much support to learn these plants. Why not take advantage of it? If you decide to do some reporting too, well, that is up to you.

The Federal Gov’t, and many States, provides a ton of free resources to help you learn about these plants. The main website is www.invaders.org which has a lot of information. They will send you a free copy of a DVD-ROM database all about Invasive Plants of the United States. They also have some books and pamphlets they will mail you at no cost. And of course, you can look for an invaders workshop in your area which I highly recommend.

How can you know if a plant is useful?

One of the best resources is the Plants for a Future database which is available for free at www.pfaf.org. (While the website is free, PFAF also could use support in terms of donations or by purchasing a copy of their database).

Here is an example of a plant to consider. The Forest Service says that Autumn Olive, Elaeagnus umbellate is an invasive species in much of the Northeastern U.S.  Checking out the PFAF database we learn that Autumn Olive is edible and medicinal.

If you live in the Northeast, this abundant plant is a good one to learn!

These plants are coming in and thriving, why not become an ally of them and figure out how we can use them?

We are quite lucky to have these free online resources to help us.  Let’s use them while they are available.




Tags: autumn plant identification federal gov invasive species

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