Medicinal and Culinary Invasive Plants of NY State – Introduction

Invasive Plants

A presidential Executive Order enacted in 1999 defines an invasive species (“invasive plant” for our purpose), as an alien species (“nonnative plant” for our purpose) whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic harm, environmental harm, or harm to human health. Other terms used to describe an invasive plant include noxious weed, exotic, and aquatic nuisance species. In addition to the many invasive species from outside the U.S., there are many species from within the U.S. that are invasive in other parts of the country. Currently, according to http://www.invasive.org, there are 1598 species that are invasive in the USA.

For clarification, the definition of a nonnative species is a species that, other than as the result of an introduction, did not historically occur in an area, and was purposely or accidentally introduced into a new environment by the settlers, who came mainly from Eurasia. The settlers ( some of your ancestors), crowded out the native population of Native Americans just like many plants they brought with them is now crowding out the population of the native plants.

Invasive plants can decrease biological diversity by making the habitat less suitable for native plants and animals, which can affect their survival. They can alter natural ecosystem processes such as fire regimes, nutrient cycles, and flooding. They can impede efforts to restore threatened and endangered species, and are very expensive to control.

Habitat degradation and destruction threatens 85% of the imperiled and federally protected plant and animal species. The second greatest threat is alien or invasive plants and animals. These alien species threatened half or 49% of the imperiled and federally protected species.

For Example, At the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge efforts are under way to protect the endangered Mississippi sandhill crane, which has lost much of its native habitat through land modification. An invasive plant called cogongrass is degrading the remaining nesting and foraging habitat of the sandhill crane. To protect the crane’s remaining habitat, refuge managers apply herbicides which is an effective control method that reduces the cogongrass and prevents it from spreading. The herbicides end up in water and how they affect all other plants and animals, including people, in the ecosystem is all another question. Someone is making a lot of green in the “Fight the Invasives” war.

From http://www.fws.gov/invasives/ : Invasive plants cost a lot of money to control. Of the 2 million acres of refuge lands that are infested with invasive plants, managers only were able to treat 14% of those lands in 2006. The cost of controlling invasive plants is high, and due to tight budgets refuge managers only can treat a small percentage. Volunteers, like me and you, are highly appreciated.

In treating individual invasive plants or infestations, managers may select one or a combination of these methods.
Physical — hand pulling or mowing weeds. It is not realistic, however, to get enough hands-for-free to pull thousands of acres of weeds.
Chemical — careful application of herbicides. Poisoning the environment any further is a crime.
This is the example of pesticide recommendation, from http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/mivi1.htm : “For extensive stiltgrass infestations, use of a systemic herbicide such as glyphosate (e.g., Roundup Pro®) is a practical and effective method if used with some caution. Glyphosate is a non-specific herbicide that will kill or damage almost any herbaceous plant and possibly some woody plants it contacts.”
Biological — release of insects to feed on specific parts of the plant. Of course, after the bugs will eat all invasive they can, they always find some native plant to feast upon. The bug that eat Kudzu also enjoys our favorite GMO Soy! Introducing foreign bugs means creating new invasive species.
Fire — burning the plants. There is a slight threat of fire spreading uncontrollably.
Grazing — animals that eat the plants. Finally, the healthiest, most natural way to control Invasive weeds that we at VIFarms fully embrace. As we understand, that the most prolific animal specie are people, as we know of growing population and imminence of food shortage, we declare: Eat the Invasives!

As I did my research about the traditional use of the invasive plants in their courtiers of origins, I was amazed at the range of medicinal properties they possess. It occurred to me that these plants win competition and spread widely in the new territory because perhaps they possess powerful qualities and is simply stronger than many other species. Used to treat deadly diseases for centuries by peoples of many cultures, they were brought by settlers for their medicinal qualities, their beauty and few – accidentally to the US. We only need to remember and re-learn these plants, which are not our enemies, but the nature’s great resource.
Some say, the plants grow where they are the most needed.
The Greater Celandine established itself in my mother-in-law yard and was growing there for years before she found herself in the hospital with gallbladder removed- too many stones. The Greater Celandine is one of the best natural medicines that helps to relieve gallbladder stones. If only she knew!
Since we are the new Native Americans, we should learn to listen to our land, as our land ancestors asked us to do. Our conquistador mentality of raping and controlling the nature should stop. Carrying on the policies of few who benefits from the destruction in the short term should stop.
Embracing the ways of nature brings more harmony than another war; a war on Nature is a war against ourselves. We have a population crisis, but there are better ways to deal with it than committing slow and guided suicide.

The destruction will stop only when the majority of people will learn and live in a sustainable way, refusing to follow the lead of ruling corporations.

Below is the list and the description of the medicinal and culinary uses of many NY State specific invasive plants. In addition to having medicines with no side effects and $0 cost, you gain more freedom. Join us! Save Earth and Yourself!

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About Anya Pozdeeva, vifarms

Vertically Integrated Urbarn Aquaponics, Permaponics, Permaculture and Sustainable Living, New York Style! www.vifarms.com
This entry was posted in Edible Invasive Weeds. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Medicinal and Culinary Invasive Plants of NY State – Introduction

  1. Pingback: Wildlife Update : Invasive non-native species attack! | LEARN FROM NATURE

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