One of the UU Asheville’s responsibilities to retain our Pollinator Garden certification is that we must remove invasive plants. Most of us know when a plant invades our own gardens. The first indication is that It tends to choke out more desirable plants. Invasives are usually tenacious and vigorous, but can often be beautiful as well. Which can make it a hard decision to remove it.
This is the definition from the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the USDA: “An invasive plant is a plant that is both non-native and able to establish on many sites, grow quickly, and spread to the point of disrupting plant communities or ecosystems.”
One such invasive that we removed from the campus last week is porcelain berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata). This was growing on the RE area fence, sporting beautiful blue and purple berries. It is quite attractive with leaves similar to grape. But it has a dark side. It is planted near the blueberry garden so it just might tempt a child to taste its berries along with ripe blueberries. I’ve found two sources that say the berries are not only NOT edible but can be toxic. And, it was engulfing parts of the sensory garden.
From the North Carolina State Extension Service: “Porcelain berry is an aggressive weed in the Vitaceae (grape) family of the eastern United States that closely resembles native grapes. Porcelain berry is listed as an Invasive, Exotic Plant of the Southeast reseeding readily and becoming very difficult to remove.”
So, it’s gone and we’ll be keeping an eye out to prevent it from coming back. And if you have questions about a plant being invasive, drop me a line and we can figure it out together!