Great Invaders: What Makes a Plant Invasive?


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Scotch broom is pretty, but tough to remove. Photo: Michael Bentley / CC by 2.0

Scotch broom is pretty but tough to remove. Image by Michael Bentley / CC by 2.0


Introduced Species Are Difficult to Remove

Anyone who’s ever tried to remove Scotch Broom knows that some invasive plants have tough root systems. Other invasive plants, like the Morning Glory, might seem simple to remove because they are not very thick and have smaller roots. However, they are exceptionally good at growing again from a tiny piece of root that’s left in the ground.

Persistent Reproduction: The Invaders Keep on Invading

Invasive species are not only good at running wild through the landscape, they’re also very successful at reproducing. They may produce large quantities of seed, and those seeds are likely good at spreading. Other plants may have fewer seeds, but like the Japanese Knotweed, they grow extremely well from bits of themselves. If a wily gardener tries to remove the plants, the weed will simply grow back from the little bits of plant that the gardener left behind.

Invasive Plant Species: Great Invaders

Invasive plant species are very good at being plants: they’re excellent at finding niches where they can grow, and they’re good at reproducing and persisting in their new environments. These survival skills give them an edge in their environment, and removing them from the landscape can be very difficult, so try not to introduce an invasive species into your area.


University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. Invasive Plants. (2007). Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program. Accessed January 13, 2013.

US Forest Service. Invasive Species. (2009). Pacific Northwest Research Station. Accessed January 13, 2013.

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