Head over to the Indiana Native Plant Society’s website to get an update on this important piece of legislation that was recently signed by Governor Holcomb.
Particularly useful is Ellen Jacquart’s simple slideshow that elucidates these changes. See also the coverage by IndyStar.
What does this mean?
(c) Except as provided in subsection (d), with respect to any species identified in subsection (a) a person must not: (1) Sell, offer or grow for sale, gift, barter, exchange, or distribute a species [as of Apr 2020];(2) Transport or transfer a species [as of Apr 2020]; or (3) Introduce a species [as of Apr 2019)].
Generally, this is good news! Certain species can cause real economic, agricultural, and biological damage (go back up and click on the slideshow to get Jacquart’s great explainer).
Looking at the list, I see some familiar faces from my journeys around the 1,100 acres that comprised The Center at Donaldson.
Tree of Heaven is a fast-growing and stinky tree, a profilic seed producer. If you cut it down, it gets pretty “angry” and resprouts with a vengence. Fortunately, it’s not a major problem here (yet).
Garlic Mustard is familiar to our woods, and widespread. We recently had a garlic mustard pulling party, and our new Moontree co-worker Liz made some yummy pesto out of it!
Black Alder is a wetland tree that lines much of Lake Galbraith. Fortunately, it’s rather contained as it is. It is relatively easy to distinguish this from our native Speckled Alder, which we also have on the property.
Don’t get me started on Mugwort… it’s everywhere, and has established a big presence at Moontree soon after the Moontree prairie was planted. It forms solid stands that excludes pretty much everything else.
Last June we were treated by the presence of Dodder on a patch of Mugwort. Dodder is a native parasitic species that is orange, stringy, and rootless. It has no chlorophyll and can’t photosynthesize. It didn’t really make a dent in the Mugwort, but we let it do it’s thing!
Asian Bittersweet is what you typically find in beautiful fall wreaths. Beautiful, but incredibly invasive and destructive. Make sure you opt for the native variety, and if you can’t tell the difference, please don’t buy or plant it! We have it in several places.
Poison Hemlock is common in our ditches. Beautiful feathery green leaves and a large white umbel for a flower. But it spreads rapidly and cause very severe reactions when the oils come into contact with your skin.
Autumn Olive and Bush Honeysuckle species are exotic shrubs that are prolific seeders and pretty much ubiquitous. We try to keep mature plants from going to seed. The used of prescribed fire can also help keep these at bay, to some degree. Unfortunately, we still have a couple Bush Honeysuckle plants that were installed in the landscaping.
Well, you get the picture. There are several more species on the list that I’ve found on the property. Currently, I just don’t have the time or staff to address them all, so I’ve developed a sort of triage system, where certain species are tackled first, and certain populations given priority based on the landscape context.
One very unfortunate omission from the list of 44 was Bradford pear. It’s a very common non-native flowering tree that landscapers use. But the fruits are spread near and far by birds and are very fertile. They aren’t even good for landscaping, and are often brought down by heavy winds. Even the DNR is vocal in the press about refraining from planting these and replacing standing trees.
Fortunately, there are many native species available that are beautiful, pest-tolerant, and well-adapted to our soils and climate. With a little research and effort, one can find a variety of bloom times and colors available as well. This little bit of intention goes a long way towards the first principle of ecological management, medicine, and probably religion as well: “First, do no harm.”
I’ll end with one last photo of a special native herbaceous species, one found in high quality Indiana forests throughout the state. No one has an official record of this plant occurring in Marshall County. I took this photo in Tippecanoe County recently, and it was the first time I saw the species.
I won’t tell you where, exactly, as poachers would likely steal it and sell part of the plant for a good sum of money. Poaching is posing a major threat to this species in some areas. Do you know what it is?