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Florida's Villains Of Vegetation

From air potatoes to water hyacinths, non-native plants have conquered a staggering 15 percent of our state’s conservation areas

The air potato is a true yam species. It is native to Africa and Asia and is an invasive species in many tropical areas, including Florida.

The air potato is a true yam species. It is native to Africa and Asia and is an invasive species in many tropical areas, including Florida.

Florida is home to more than 150 species of invasive, non-native plants that inhabit nearly 15 percent of the state’s public conservation lands and waterways, crowding out the native habitats that wildlife depend upon for food and shelter. Each year it costs taxpayers millions of dollars to control these unwelcome exotics.

Non-native plants can quickly get out of control. They don’t have to contend with the bugs, diseases and other limiting factors they face in their native lands, so here they are free to spread and often overwhelm and displace existing local vegetation. Such unhampered growth threatens Florida’s natural biodiversity.

Read the entire article in the September/October 2013 issue