Whether it’s cape ivy or french broom, if you want to know how to control some of the region’s most pernicious invasive plant species, pick up a copy of Invasive Plants of California’s Wildland, edited by Carla C. Bossard, John M. Randall, and Marc C. Hoshovsky. Published by University of California Press, Invasive Plants provides a wealth of information on 78 non-native plant species, ranging from how to recognize them, where they came from, and how they spread, to state-of-the art information on methods of control. In case you’re not convinced of the threats posed by these species, the book provides details for each plant that it covers. Among the problems associated with french broom, for example, are their toxic seeds, displacement of native species, and changing of microclimate conditions at the soil level. According to Invasive Plants, french broom is believed to be responsible for reducing arthropod (a diverse phylum including crabs, spiders, and insects) populations by one-third in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. One major omission, however, is an index of common plant names. U.C. Press hopes to include an index in future print runs. In the meantime, you can log on to www.ucpress.edu, type in the name of the book, click on the title, and download the index in a “pdf” file.
Bay Nature magazine ◦ April-June 2001