Native and Invasive Species
Native plants are plants that evolved here in the northeastern U.S. Because these plants have been here a very long time, they have co-evolved with many insects, birds, and wildlife species. Native plants play an important role in local food webs by providing seeds, berries, and foliage. They also fulfill other lifecycle needs by serving as locations for nesting and overwintering, providing refuge and cover, and more.
Invasive species did not evolve here and do not have the same relationships with native insects, birds, and wildlife that native species do. Most invasive species were introduced by humans, sometimes purposefully. Invasive species tend to have aggressive growth habits and can spread very quickly, alter soil chemistry, and change the physical structure of an ecosystem. Invasive species often outcompete native plant species while not providing the same food and lifecycle support to local insects, birds, and wildlife that native species do. As a result, they are a contributing factor to the decline of pollinators, like bees. Once they are established, invasive species can be very difficult to remove.
What can you do?
- Despite their harmful impacts and laws prohibiting their sale, invasive plants can still be found for purchase. When buying new plants, make sure that you are not buying any that are invasive.
- Remove invasive species from your property so they do not spread.
- Plant native species that support local insects, birds, and wildlife!
What resources can help?
- The Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG) website has very helpful information, including the state’s invasive plant list. Links are provided for the plants in the list to help you identify and find effective ways to control them. Available downloads include a plant management calendar and photo book of invasive species.
- The Connecticut Invasive Plants Council is the group that determines which plants should be classified on the state’s invasive plant list. Its website includes the guidelines it uses to do this evaluation.
- Groton is on the Pollinator Pathway! The Groton Pollinator Pathway group is engaged in raising awareness about the critical importance of pollinators such as bees, butterflies and birds in our ecosystem. The group is encouraging the planting of native pollinator-friendly plant species on private and public properties in conjunction with a larger regional effort to connect pollinator friendly areas into continuous pathways. Its Facebook page provides resources and ways to get involved.
- The Connecticut Native Tree and Shrub Availability List shares information about native species and where you can buy them.
Want to learn more?
- Watch the recording of “The Buzz on Invasives: Invasive Plants and Their Impacts on Pollinators” talk given by Town Sustainability and Resilience Manager, Megan Granato, and hosted by the Groton Pollinator Pathway and Conservation Commission.
- Read about the connection between climate change and invasive species on this Adapt CT website.
- Check out UCONN Extension and CIPWG’s Invasive Plant Web and Print Resources list.
Did you know?
Early spring can be a good time to look for invasives, as many of them leaf-out earlier than native plants. These photos were taken in Groton in early April.
Green thickets of Japanese Barberry and Multiflora Rose. Japanese Barberry provides supportive habitat for ticks.
Early emerging Garlic Mustard