Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Problems and challenges of invasive ornamental plants and molecular tools to control their spread.

Abstract

Invasive plants, one of the most devastating ecological problems in the 21st century, cause an estimated $35 billion loss per year to the economy in the United States alone. More than 50% of all invasive plant species and 85% of invasive woody plant species were introduced originally for ornamental and landscape use. Because many non-native ornamentals are commercially important and widely utilized for various purposes, completely banning their use and prohibiting their import are unpractical solutions. On the other hand, currently used methods to control the spread of non-native plants are ineffective, expensive, or environmentally problematic. Recent advances in plant molecular biology and plant genetic transformation may enable us to create sterile cultivars of these non-native ornamental crops of high commercial value. The use of sterile cultivars should reduce or eliminate the undesirable spread of some non-native invasive plants into natural areas.