Having just watched the remake of the classic film ‘Day of The Triffids’ over the Christmas it made me think of Ireland’s own invasive plant species. The issue that invasive species bring about is that they threaten the native biodiversity. This is done through a variety of different mechanisms and it can even change the ecosystem structure and function which can have the knock on effect on the economy.
There are currently 59 plant species listed in Ireland although some of them are debatable as they are openly on sale in most garden centres at present and do have benefits if managed appropriately. This will be something that the horticulture sector will need to explore further to look at whether we continue to supply them or not. The 14 rated as most unwanted include Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) as shown above, Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) as shown below and Rhododendron ponticum which is well known locally in the Killarney national park. Many of these plants were introduced in the 19th century for ornamental reasons when it was not realised that they could displace native plants and reduce wildlife interests.
If you are interested in gaining more information on the issue of invasive species check out http://www.invasivespecies.biodiversityireland.ie/
Thankfully triffids are not currently available in Ireland……..