What are not native plants

Citizens' initiative Kienberg-Wuhletal

In connection with the upcoming changes to the Kienberg in the course of the IGA 2017, there is often talk of “species poverty” and neophytes.

What's it all about?
Is that correct?
And what are neophytes anyway?

 

Neophytes

Roughly one can translate this designation as “new plant”, which means nothing else than that the named species was not originally native to our regions, but in other regions or partly on other continents. The reason for their occurrence with us is almost always humans, who prefer to settle certain species for various reasons. Often they are beautiful garden plants, or they have an economic benefit, or they quickly green fallow areas. It is not uncommon for these plants to be favored by our climate, as one can find a similar one in their original home. If the conditions are right, they can multiply, spread and eventually even become part of our ecosystem. Such species are called neophytes.

Incidentally, the same applies to animals, so-called Neozoa. In Germany these are e.g. raccoons, raccoon dogs, mouflon sheep, mink, muskrat and many others.

Do neophytes have to go?

Well, just because a species is a neophyte is not automatically “bad” or less ecologically valuable than a native species. That would be a very subjective assessment. Neophytes also serve as a source of food and fodder and as a home for native animals. They are often an integral part of the ecosystem.

The giant goldenrod (Solidago gigantea) was introduced as an ornamental plant in the middle of the 19th century and has been an integral part of the European flora ever since. Like two other related species, it is native to North America.

Even if, strictly speaking, neophytes are not part of the native flora, native insects use them for their survival. From the giant goldenrod (Solidago gigantea) many insects like honeybees in the picture benefit.

In addition to the giant goldenrod, the Canadian goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) can also be found in the Wuhletal, which was also introduced as an ornamental plant in the middle of the 19th century.

 

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