Why are some plants invasive?
Invasive plants are non-native plants that are disruptive in a way that causes environmental or economic harm, or harm to human health. In Connecticut, the Connecticut Invasive Plants Council has developed a list of non-native plants that cause (or have the potential to cause) environmental harm in minimally-managed areas. (See list as PDF)
In minimally-managed areas, invasive plants crowd out native plants. The presence of invasive plants alters the way plants, animals, soil, and water interact within native ecosystems, often causing harm to other species in addition to the plants that have been crowded out.
Characteristics that make plants invasive include:
- the ability to establish new plants and grow rapidly under a wide variety of site conditions
- a high reproductive rate
- the ability to disperse wide distances
- often by the spreading of vegetative fragments as well as seeds
- the lack of the natural controls on growth and reproduction that would be found where the invader is native