Invasive species

What is an invasive species?

Invasive species are exotic (not naturally occurring) plants or animals that displace native species. They are introduced into areas either on purpose for domestication or gardening or on accidentally from global trade and travel. For example, many invasive plants were brought to the are as garden plants or for animal forage. Throughout the Pensacola and surrounding area invasive species are widespread and negatively affecting our community. More information about invasive species ca be found here (invasive.org).

Why are invasive species bad?

Invasive species harm natural areas and the local economy. They displace native species, clog waterways, harm forestry and agricultural lands, and threaten human health. Invasive plants are one of the leading threats to global biodiversity. For example, feral hogs (Sus scrofa) are some of the most destructive invasive species in the area destroying acres of the few remaining pristine wetland habitats we have.  Every year Florida spends hundreds of millions of dollars to control them and will continue to spend vast amounts of money to control them in the future. Invasive species are a threat to our community and the ecosystem.

How can I control invasive species?

Invasive species can be controlled by numerous methods including mechanical removal of plants, chemical application, biological controls and a mixture thereof. However, the best way to control invasive species is to prevention. More information about the eradication of invasive plant species with the Pensacola area can be found here (https://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/).

Invasive plants in the Pensacola area

There are many invasive species in the Pensacola area. Many of the worst invasive species in the area are plants. A full list of invasive plant species is provided below with the most prevalent and destructive species presented in bold. Each species is assigned a Category level of I or II (documented as harmful or suspected harmful to native ecosystems) based on the Florida Exotic Plant Pest Council’s definitions.

Table 1. Invasive species common within

Scientific Name

Common Name

Category

Albizia julibrissin

mimosa, silk tree

I

Alternanthera philoxeroides

alligatorweed

II

Antigonon leptopus

coral vine

II

Ardisia crenata

coral ardisia

I

Ardisia japonica

Japanese ardisia

II

Asparagus aethiopicus

asparagus fern

I

Begonia cucullata

wax begonia

II

Broussonetia papyrifera

paper mulberry

II

Cenchrus purpureus

elephantgrass, Napier grass

I

Cinnamomum camphora

camphor-tree

I

Clematis terniflora

Japanese clematis

II

Colocasia esculenta

wild taro

I

Cyperus involucratus

umbrella plant

II

Dactyloctenium aegyptium

Durban crow's-foot grass

II

Deparia petersenii

Japanese false spleenwort

I

Dioscorea alata

winged yam

I

Dioscorea bulbifera

air potato

I

Dolichandra unguis-cati

cat's-claw vine

I

Eichhornia crassipes

water-hyacinth

I

Elaeagnus pungens

silverthorn, thorny olive

II

Hydrilla verticillata

hydrilla

I

Hygrophila polysperma

green hygro

I

Imperata cylindrica

cogongrass

I

Kalanchoe x houghtonii

mother of millions

II

Koelreuteria elegans subsp. formosana

flamegold tree

II

Landoltia punctata

spotted duckweed

II

Lantana strigocamara

lantana, shrub verbena

I

Leucaena leucocephala

leadtree

II

Ligustrum lucidum

glossy privet

I

Ligustrum sinense

Chinese privet

I

Limnophila sessiliflora

Asian marshweed

II

Lonicera japonica

Japanese honeysuckle

I

Ludwigia peruviana

Peruvian primrosewillow

I

Lygodium japonicum

Japanese climbing fern

I

Macroptilium lathyroides

wild bushbean

II

Melia azedarach

Chinaberry

II

Momordica charantia

balsam-apple

II

Myriophyllum spicatum

Eurasian water-milfoil

II

Nandina domestica

heavenly bamboo, nandina

I

Nephrolepis cordifolia

sword fern

I

Paederia foetida

skunk vine

I

Panicum repens

torpedograss

I

Phyllostachys aurea

golden bamboo

II

Pistia stratiotes

water-lettuce

I

Pteris vittata

Chinese brake, ladder brake

II

Pueraria montana var. lobata

kudzu

I

Richardia grandiflora

largeflower Mexican clover

II

Ricinus communis

castorbean

II

Ruellia simplex

Mexican petunia

I

Salvinia minima

water spangles

I

Sesbania punicea

rattlebox

II

Sphagneticola trilobata

wedelia

II

Syngonium podophyllum

arrowhead vine

I

Tradescantia fluminensis

small-leaf spiderwort

I

Triadica sebifera

Chinese tallow-tree

I

Tribulus cistoides

puncture vine, burr-nut

II

Urena lobata

Caesar's weed

I

Urochloa maxima

Guineagrass

II

Urochloa mutica

paragrass

I

Vernicia fordii

tung-oil tree

II

Vitex rotundifolia

beach vitex

I

Wisteria sinensis

Chinese wisteria

II

Xanthosoma sagittifolium

malanga, elephant ear

II