The definition of an invasive plant has changed through the years: many of our common ornamental plants, trees and shrubs which we have loved for decades have been declared invasive since they are choking out or can choke out our native species. (Click image to view full size)
The invasives were usually brought to the United States from another country because of their beauty and hardiness – factors which cause them to become widespread. Shrubs such as Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus) seem to be ubiquitous – yet have been on the invasive species list in Massachusetts for years. You should see the expression on my clients’ faces when I tell them their good ol’ foundation shrubs are invasive and can’t be purchased anymore in MA. “Who, me? Own invasives?!” But just as in the old saying “One man’s treasure is another man’s garbage” so too is this true in our gardens. And even if a plant isn’t literally on the invasive species list, how many times have you muttered under your breath (or rather loudly) as you ripped out plants taking over sections of your garden that they had no right to be in? Spirea, anyone? Perhaps Rose of Sharon? And the lovely lily of the valley…..