Terrestrial plants are an important component of an terrestrial ecosystem, providing habitat for wildlife. However, when fast-growing plant species become well established, they can reach nuisance levels. This occurs when terrestrial plants impact common uses of a land resource such as wildlife management, forestry, agriculture, & recreation. Management of terrestrial vegetation is necessary to maintain the value of multiple uses in many public land resources where nuisance levels of terrestrial plants have been reached. An example of a nuisance terrestrial plant in our area is Cogon Grass & Chinese Tallow Tree (Popcorn Tree).
There are about 50 species of Ligustrum, all native to Europe, North Africa, and Asia. Ligustrum has been developed into an assortment of ornamental varieties in the U.S. and other parts of the world. Establishment of privet in many natural areas has occurred through its escape from cultivation. Chinese Privet is capable of invading natural areas such as floodplain forests and woodlands. The aggressive nature of privets allows for the formation of dense thickets that out compete desirable plants.
Chinese Tallow can invade a variety of habitats ranging from swampy to saline waters, and from full sun to shade situations. It is often found growing along roadsides, coastal areas, and streams. Larger specimens can produce up to 100,000 seeds that may be eaten and dispersed by birds, facilitating the spread of tallow. Regrowth often occurs from cut stumps or roots. Native species are crowded out once Chinese Tallow becomes established. The leaves and fruit are toxic to cattle and cause nausea and vomiting in humans.
Cogon Grass is an aggressive, rhizomatous, perennial grass that is distributed throughout the regions of the world. It has become established in the southeastern United States within the last fifty years, with Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida having extensive acreage of roadway and pasture infested with Cogon Grass. It does not survive in cultivated areas but becomes established along roadways, in forests, parks, and mining areas.
Japanese Climbing Fern can grow in sun or shade, damp, disturbed or undisturbed areas. It can grow so dense that it forms a living 'wall', leading to the elimination of seedlings and other native vegetation. It is also a major problem in pine plantations, causing contamination and harvesting problems for the pine straw industry. Old World climbing fern infests cypress swamps and other hydric sites, forming a monoculture. This massive infestation displaces all native flora and fauna, completely changing the ecosystem of the area.
This weedy yet attractive species is a native to North America and can be found in habitats such as disturbed sites, waste ground, roadsides, railroads and ditches. The plant can be identified by its glabrous, tall stems, large leaves, big yellow flowers from July to November and long drooping fruits. The leaves grow perpendicular to the stem giving the plant a distinctive appearance. Plants can grow to 3 meters tall or more.
Both elephant ear and Taro are herbaceous perennials with large leaves up to 6 feet in length. The common name was given because of its large, elephant ear-like leaves. Taro can be distinguished from elephant ears by the attachment of the leaf from the petiole. In Taro, the petiole attaches to the leaf several inches from the base of the ‘V’ of the leaf, while the petiole is attached directly at the base in elephant ears. The leaves are light green for elephant ear and darker green in color for Taro.