Thousands of plants have been introduced to the United States from other parts of the world. Some have come here accidentally in seed stock, while others were brought here intentionally for horticultural use. A small number of these introduced plants have gotten a little too comfortable in their new environment. Because they have no native predators and produce a lot of fruit and seed that are efficiently dispersed, they are invading natural areas. The aggressiveness of these invasive plants affects natural areas and wildlife by decreasing biodiversity, competing with native and rare plants and eliminating wildlife habitat and food sources.
Plant This, Not That is a regular feature of the Arboretum’s Forests & Gardens magazine, which was once called Leaves, and offers alternatives to a commonly used landscaped plant that has become invasive. The alternatives were chosen because their characteristics – form, flowers, fruit or fall color – are similar to that of the invasive and fulfill the same landscaping need. Plants that are native to Ohio are recommended when possible as native species are generally well-adapted to local climates and provide additional resources for wildlife. However, there are many non-native plants on the market that are also non-invasive and possess great ornamental value.