Traffic in plants and plant seeds
gochfeld at eohsi.rutgers.edu
Fri Sep 18 21:17:54 EDT 1998
For what it's worth, I don't think that the analogy of free-will
regarding plants, is so hot. In the last few years ecologists have
called attention to the huge problem that exotic plants, particularly
invasive species of exotics, pose to natural vegetation. Kudzu is just
an icon for dozens of invasive species that are changing landscapes
around the world. I recently planted a Lantana, and horrified a visitor
from Hawaii where this plant is a devastating weed (indeed I saw a huge
monoculture of this plant in Volcanos NP). Fortunately Lantana is not
hardy with is (New Jersey), but lots of exotics are.
Florida is a caricature of invasive plants and the irony is that
some officially designated pest-species are still being sold by
nurseries to home horticulturists.
There are conflicting cults among butterfly-gardeners about
whether or not to include or even tolerate non-natives species in a
garden (even excluding Buddleia).
The restricting of traffic in many plants is probably a good (if
too late) idea.
In this regard, the Agricultural List Server is bursting with
controversy over bio-engineered seeds which produce plants that are
productive of food but effectively sterile (to keep farmers from
harvesting the seed for future plantings). Likewise some tropical fish
farmers are producing only male fish, to prevent hobbyists from breeding
their own fish). Maybe that's a good idea for horticulturists, to keep
exotics in check.
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