FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                             Contact:   Ben Bolusky

June 1, 2001                                                                                                                               Merry Mott

                                                                                                                                   800/375-FNGA (3642)

FNGA urges Florida’s Nursery & Landscape Industry to Phase Out 34 Invasive Plants

ORLANDO — The Florida Nurserymen and Growers Association (FNGA) is urging Florida’s nursery and landscape industry professionals to phase out production, sale and use of 34 plants that are invasive in natural areas. 

FNGA and the Tampa Bay Wholesale Growers (TBWG), in cooperation with the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC), is asking Florida nursery growers, landscape professionals and garden center retailers to voluntarily stop propagating, selling, and using these species after joint talks overseen by the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services resulted in agreement the plants are becoming invasive in Florida’s natural areas. These 34 are in addition to the voluntary ban on 11 other plants announced by FNGA in 1999.

Over the years, such plants were introduced by the government for forage, erosion control, and other agricultural uses, as well as by nursery growers for their horticultural value and through accidental introduction.  Widely known invasive plants are Brazilian pepper, Australian pine, carrotwood, Chinese tallow, hydrilla and melaleuca. 

 “FNGA is aware how destructive invasive plants are to Florida’s special environment. We have chosen to be leaders in protecting these valuable resources,” says FNGA President Joe Cialone, Tropical Ornamentals, Lake Worth.  “We are joining with land managers and researchers to stop the spread of these plants which displace and destroy native plant communities.  We will exercise leadership in this battle.”

In response to the significant management challenges and expense of controlling numerous invasive species in natural habitats, public land managers in several states and regions established Exotic Pest Plant Councils.  The first was founded in Florida in 1984. FLEPPC’s membership numbers more than 300 public and private land managers, university faculty, citizens, nursery professionals and businesses.  FNGA represents more than 2,200 of Florida’s leading nursery growers, landscape professionals, garden center retailers and allied suppliers. TBWG represents 86 Hillsborough County-based grower members.

FLEPPC Chair Ken Langeland said, “Our organization is pleased to continue working with Florida’s nursery & landscape industry identifying invasive species having ecological effects that should no longer be commercially available. We appreciate this proactive working relationship to address the invasive species problem in Florida’s natural areas.”

The FNGA/FLEPPC/TBWG task force meetings focused on the identification of plant species which have become established in natural areas and, generally, are not economically significant to the statewide nursery & landscape industry.  Also reviewed were the mode of spread and reproduction of the plant; specific varieties of plant species believed to be invasive (where differences among varieties exist); and, potential alternatives as substitute plants.

As a result of these in-depth discussions, FNGA’s Board of Directors voted unanimously in March 2001 to urge these 34 species no longer be propagated, sold or used in Florida.

“This decisive action underscores the role and commitment of Florida’s nursery and landscape industry in ensuring the continued natural beauty of Florida’s environment.” says Ben Bolusky, FNGA Executive Vice President.

The Florida Nurserymen & Growers Association represents Florida’s environmental horticulture industry, with a $5.4 billion value-added impact on Florida’s economy.  For more information, contact FNGA at 1533 Park Center Drive, Orlando, Fla. 32835 or call 407/295-7994; e-mail info@fnga.org; www.fnga.org.

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Those 34 species agreed upon by the group are:

 

Adenanthera pavonina                 red sandalwood

Agave sisalana                             sisal hemp

Aleurites fordii                             tung oil tree

Alstonia macrophylla                   devil-tree

Alternanthera philoxeroides         alligator weed                 (Prohibited by DEP)

Anredera leptostachya                 Madeira vine

Aristolochia littoralis                    calico flower

Broussonetia papyrifera              paper mulberry

Callisia fragrans                          inch plant

Casuarina cunninghamiana         Australian pine                (Prohibited by DEP)

Cereus undatus                            night-blooming cereus

Dalbergia sissoo                          Indian rosewood

Enterolobium contortisliquum      ear-pod tree

Flacourtia indica                         governor’s plum

Flueggea virosa                           Chinese waterberry

Hiptage benghalensis                   hiptage

Leucaena leucocephala               lead tree

Melinis minutiflora                       molasses grass

Merremia tuberosa                       wood-rose

Myriophyllum spicatum                Eurasian watermilfoil       (Prohibited by DEP)

Ochrosia parviflora                     kopsia

Oeceoclades maculata                 lawn orchid

Passiflora foetida                         stinking passion vine

Pteris vittata                                 Chinese brake fern

Rhynchelytrum repens                  Natal grass

Ricinus communis                         castor bean

Sesbania punicea                         purple sesban

Solanum diphyllum                       2-leaf nightshade

Solanum jamaicense                     Jamaica nightshade

Syszygium jambos                        rose-apple

Terminalia catappa                      Tropical almond

Tribulus cistoides                         burrnut

Triphasia trifoliata                       limeberry

Urena lobata                                Caesar’s weed

 

The 11 plants originally agreed upon by the group as invasive are:

Albizia lebbeck                             Woman’s tongue

Bauhinia variegata                      Orchid tree

Bischofia javanica                       Bischofia

Cupaniopsis anacardioides          Carrotwood        (Prohibited by FDACS)

Macfadyena unguis-cati              Cat’s claw vine

Melia azedarach                          Chinaberry

Nephrolepis cordifolia                 Sword fern

Psidium guajava                          Guava

Rhoeo spathacea                          Oyster plant - large variety

Syzgium cumini                             Java plum; jambolan

Thespesia populnea                     Seaside mahoe

 

 

                                                     (DEP: Florida Department of Environmental Protection)

                                                     (FDACS: Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services)