Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

The introduction of Japanese plants into North America.

Abstract

This article describes the history of plant introductions from Japan into North America, from the Perry Expedition in 1854 through the collections of George Rogers Hall of Bristol, Rhode Island and Thomas Hogg of New York City between 1861 and 1875. Both men sent plants to the innovative nurseryman, Samuel Bowne Parsons of Flushing, Long Island, who propagated and sold them to the gardening public. This process, which took more than twenty years from initial collection through commercial distribution, succeeded in adding innumerable Japanese species into the ornamental landscapes of North America, including Japanese maple, kousa dogwood, panicle hydrangea, and Sawara cypress. Unfortunately these early introductions also included a number of species which escaped cultivation and have become infamously invasive, including oriental bittersweet, kudzu, porcelain berry and Japanese honeysuckle. The pioneering work of these three horticulturists--compounded over the past hundred and fifty years--has had a profound impact on both cultivated and wild landscapes across North America.