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Facing leafy invasion


Naturalist wages war on invasive plants



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Peter Alden discusses an example of invasive black swallow-wort Tuesday night. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
September 23, 2009
SOUTHBRIDGE — Years ago, Frank Herbert wrote a short novel called "Green Mind" about intelligent plant life taking over everything.

While the plants Concord naturalist Peter Alden talks about aren't smart, they might be just as much of a problem to us and other local lifeforms, if people don't take serious action.

"I still think we have some time — 10 years, maybe, or 20 years," Alden said. "… We have some decisions to make, whether we fight or don't fight."

On Tuesday, Alden laid out his case that invasive plants are a major ecological concern most people ignore. Speaking to the Southbridge Garden Club, he said people planted them by choice for decades, buying them as decorative garden plants for their colors or the fact they attracted birds. Unfortunately, those birds ate and transported their seeds everywhere, and the plants found the new homes very much to their liking, crowding out native species.

See Friday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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