Invasive Exotic Plants

What is an Invasive Exotic Plant?

An invasive-exotic plant species is an introduced species that has been shown to displace the native vegetation by out-competing native species. Without the limiting factors that normally keep invasive plants under control in their native homes (e.g., diseases and insects), they overwhelm and displace existing native vegetation to form dense, single-species stands that dominate and alter the original natural community.

For a complete list of invasive exotic plant species that can be found in the Southeast, visit the Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council. For a list of the invasive status of non-native plants in Florida, go to the IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants (see Conclusions) and the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (see Plant Lists) .

Prevent the Spread of Invasives

By choosing to plant a garden with native plants, you will prevent the spread of invasive plants from your yard to other natural areas. At the same time, you conserve water, energy, time, and money, as well as reduce or eliminate the need for harmful pesticides and herbicides. There are a wide variety of native plants and landscaping designs to choose from in creating the yard that is the most pleasing to you.

Invasive Species to Avoid or Eliminate

Photo: UF Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants (V. Ramey)

Old World climbing fern

Lygodium microphyllum

Photo: UF Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants (V. Ramey)

Brazilian pepper

Schinus terebinthifolius

Photo: UF Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants (A. Murray)

Melaleuca

Melaleuca quinquenervia

Photo: UF Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants

Chinese tallow

Sapium sebiferum

Photo: UF Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants

Tropical soda apple

Solarum viarum

Photo: UF Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants (A. Murray)

Water hyacinth

Eichhornia crassipes

Photo: UF Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants (A. Murray)

Australian pine

Casuarina equisetfolia

Photo: UF Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants (A. Murray)

Wild taro

Colocasia esculenta

If you spot these plants, contact a local conservation manager.

For more information about invasive plants in Florida, visit the IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida and the Florida Exotic Plant Council.

Why You Should Care*

Once invasive plants take over our native plants, the result is that:

  • Florida’s natural biodiversity is destroyed.
  • Our native plants can eventually become permanently eliminated.
  • The animals that use those native plants for food and habitat cannot make use of the non-native ones.
  • Aquatic invasive plants can harm fish habitats.
  • Boating, swimming, hiking, and other activities can be limited or impossible in areas overtaken with invasive exotic plants.
  • It costs billions of dollars to control invasive exotic plants, and it is usually very difficult to eradicate them completely.

*Adapted from http://plants.usda.gov/java/noxiousDriver.