June 2010

Go Native to Save Plant Species

I absolutely love wild honeysuckle. Its smell, its gorgeous massiveness, its ripe green color with wisps of yellow—it’s one of my favorite spring bloomers in our area. Most people consider it to be a bothersome weed—especially since it tends to take over your yard if you allow it—but, like dandelions, I’ve always had a fondness for such “weeds.” The scent alone of honeysuckle is enough to make me want to grow it all over our yard.

That’s why I was shocked to discover that wild honeysuckle is not a native plant to our area; in fact, its presence—according to Missouri Conservationist magazine—is killing other native plants. Wild honeysuckle, says experts, actually takes over an area and grows earlier in the year than other surrounding plants, which effectively blocks out their sun and ability to produce food—killing them and resulting in less native species in the area.