Invasive Plant A Threat to Native Greenery in Galveston

A non-native plant poses a threat to native plants and animals in Galveston. The Galveston Bay foundation has recently begun an effort to eradicate the plant before it can't be stopped. Rod Rice reports.

The plant, according to Bob Stokes, the foundation's president, is the Brazilian pepper-tree.

"We've noticed it showing up in Galveston and we know that it has the possibility of really spreading quickly, so we're trying to do a program to eradicate it before it really can get to much farther across the island."

Stokes says the problem is that Brazilian pepper-tree crowds out native plants and doesn't supply needed food and habitat for native animals.  He says it has gotten so widespread in Florida that it can't be eradicated.  Florida now spends a great deal of money just to control it.

Stokes says there are four areas where the plant is really taking root on the island and that’s where eradication work is concentrated.

"We have a licensed contractor who sprays an herbicide.  We get permission from all the land owners where we're operating.  This herbicide is really targeted to Brazilian pepper-tree so it doesn't present a danger to any other plants."

Brazilian pepper-tree was brought to Texas as an ornamental plant and may be found anywhere.  If you have Brazilian pepper tree contact the Galveston Bay Foundation and they'll have it sprayed.  You can see a picture of it on the foundation’s website at galvbay.org/conservation_invasive.html. Also view an identification card below.

 

Bio photo of Rod Rice

Rod Rice

Local Anchor, Morning Edition

Rod Rice became fascinated with radio at an early age, while sitting on his Grandfather’s lap listening to his "programs" on the big Emerson Radio...