RESOURCES: Digging Up Weeds

Science  03 Jun 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5727, pp. 1387
DOI: 10.1126/science.308.5727.1387a

It may look pretty, but the invasive purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) is the scourge of American wetlands. The immigrant from Europe and Asia is crowding out native species of grasses and sedges and threatening some endangered plants and animals. Although it focuses on one part of the United States, the Southwest Exotic Plant Information Clearinghouse is a good general source of facts about non-native plants such as purple loosestrife that are growing amok. Sponsored by federal agencies and Northern Arizona University, the database collects backgrounders on more than 300 invasive species, from the common dandelion to the ultracompetitive medusahead grass. Another feature lets users map reports of the species in the Southwest.

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