Plant invasion leaves a ‘stinky’ taste
It will come as a surprise to many that Bermuda has been invaded by alien species. But this is true! I speak of three plants that have settled here so happily in recent years that they are now taking over many areas island-wide. These aggressive invaders can ruin the appearance of Bermuda.
The first is a climber, commonly called balloon vine, which has swathed so many trees and shrubs, denying them light and air, that these host plants are dying. This plant has seed pods that resemble small, papery balloons, and once the seeds are dropped they sprout quickly into yet more and more vines, adding to the heavy mass of foliage smothering their hosts.
Some of this vine can be seen at the roadside around the South Road roundabout on Trimingham Hill, along South Road, Devonshire, the Railway Trail in Paget, and, yes, in the Botanical Gardens.
The second species is a shrub with dirty white flowers, commonly called “stinky plant” or “stinky weed”. It spreads rapidly and is not something you would want growing in your yard. Its appearance and scent are equally unpleasant.
The third plant is a rank grass, which is about two to three feet tall with spindly seed heads. In the past 20 years, it has colonised many roadsides, parks and gardens, making the island look very uncared for. It is extremely difficult to remove.
Mr Editor, considerable expense and scientific research are rightly put into studying and maintaining the health of our coral reef and the ocean around us. Surely, the land plants that grow here and add so much to the beauty of our lovely island are worth protecting and preserving, too.
Just look how Mexican pepper has spread and overrun large tracts of land because the danger of the spread of this plant was not seen.
Beware, Bermuda, these aliens are coming to a roadside near you!
Mr Editor, I hope my letter will draw this problem to the attention of your readers.
PATRICIA KAY LATTER
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