Native weedy pests of the deep south.
By definition, an invasive plant is a non-native or alien species whose introduction causes or may cause economical or environmental harm. Due to well-documented and widespread devastating impacts of invasive plants, all exotic or introduced plant species often are erroneously referred to as invasive or considered detrimental, whereas native plants may be promoted as beneficial. Although invasive plants have been the subject of a great deal of research and discussion, less attention has been placed on native plant species that can become economically important weedy pests under certain scenarios, such as in landscape plantings or agricultural production systems. The objective of this manuscript is to synthesize current literature available on native weedy plants in Florida and other Southern United States (including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas) and discuss how their biology paired with human activities, preferences, and available management practices cause these species to proliferate and be problematic. Focus is placed on nine important native weeds in residential and commercial landscape plantings, including spurges (Euphorbia spp.), woodsorrels (Oxalis spp.), saw palmetto [Serenoa repens (Bartram) Small], bracken fern [Pteridium aquilinum (L.) Kuhn], artillery weed (Pilea microphylla L.), Virginia creeper [Parthenocissus quinquefolia (L.) Planch], trumpet creeper [Campsis radicans (L.) Seem. Ex Bureau], eastern poison ivy [Toxicodendron radicans (L.) Kuntze], and pennyworts/dollarweed (Hydrocotyle spp.). Reasons these species become problematic, including fast growth and reproductive rates, lack of selective management options, and ability to thrive in the landscape environment, also are discussed.