Invasion apparent

This is one of the times of the year when the invasion is most apparent here in Missouri, at least in the St. Louis area.

The invasion I'm talking about is of bush honeysuckle, the shrubby Asian plant introduced to this country 100 years or more ago, which is now the predominant understory shrub in much of Missouri.


Bush honeysuckles keep their leaves longer than almost every native deciduous plant and tree, and leaf out earlier than anything else too, which means that they easily outcompete native species.

It also means that they're really easy to spot in early winter and early spring. These are some photos that I snapped with my phone while driving.

I could easily find dozens of more examples of this -- entire hillsides covered by this invader. (If it's green in the above photos, it's bush honeysuckle)

Even my own garden contains some samples of bush honeysuckle... the strip of wild common ground behind my yard is full of it -- even though I removed a dozen or more BIG specimens that had crept over the years into my own property. At least all of the green seen back here isn't bush honeysuckle -- my bamboos and the deer-food euonymous (becoming equally a problem in natural areas unfortunately) provide some variety.

Every one of my neighbors who has wild area behind their properties grows bush honeysuckle:

(Again in those photos, if it's green or yellowish green it's most likely bush honeysuckle)

There are frequent volunteer outings to remove bush honeysuckle from parks and natural areas (like Shaw Nature Reserve), but having done this myself I'm not eager to do it again "for fun".

Invasives bring me down, especially when their extent is clearly visible like this. Wait until spring when the bradford pears are blooming -- that's another scary one...

Any invasives in your area?

More about bush honeysuckle in Missouri here.


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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (December 11, 2015 at 2:18 PM)  

Bradford pears, OMG. The bane of my existence. We had two, both city trees, i.e. protected. One the city took down years ago because limbs kept breaking off. The other is an eyesore in the front yard, dropping its nasty fruit everywhere at this time of year.

We also have an Aristocrat pear that came with the house (not a city tree). Almost as bad, but no nasty fruit. I've been lobbying with my better half for years to have it removed, to no avail.

Chickadee Gardens  – (December 11, 2015 at 3:48 PM)  

Uggg....that's to bad, Alan. It's frustrating when your'e fighting an uphill battle if the neighbors aren't on board. We have English ivy and oh boy, is it ever invasive. It's taken over many of our forests and I STILL have people ask for it at the nursery. It's been banned for a long time, too.

Unknown  – (January 12, 2016 at 12:56 PM)  

I'm with you on this one.

There was a time when mimosas (albizzia) were scary looking along I55 in south county, but the honeysuckle has now completely overshadowed them.

I live further south, near Elephant Rocks and Johnson's shut-ins, but there are scary patches of honeysuckle down here too.

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