September 18, 2012

On the Road: The Kudzu of the Coast

Of the invasive plants in my country, I think that tamarisk and cheatgrass are the worst.

On the recent train trip to California, I saw stands of tamarisk that looked mostly defoliated along the Colorado River downstream from Dotsero. Maybe the beetles are starting to have an effect.

California has its own problems with invasive species — Scotch broom was one that I knew about.

The Monterey Peninsula, where M. and I were staying, offers every kind of succulent from everywhere (particularly southern Africa). It reminded me of places that I have visited in southern England, where the horticultural spoils of empire adorn thousands of suburban gardens.
Ice plant on coastal dune, Pacific Grove, California
There ice plant is the villain. Like kudzu in the South, it was introduced partly for erosion control on highway cut banks and such — and it controlled and controlled until it had driven everything else away and formed big solid monocultural mats.
Death to ice plant!
At least it comes up easier than kudzu.

2 comments:

Reid Farmer said...

There's actually lots of tamarisk in the desert parts of California too.

Week before last I was shocked to see Caltrans workers actually planting ice plant on new highway cutbanks in the San Diego area.

Chas Clifton said...

I suppose Caltrans thinks it is OK as long as they are not planting it on sand dunes? :(