By LYNN BARBER
The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas uses literature-based assessment tools to evaluate the invasion risk of non-native species in the state, new species proposed for introduction and novel agricultural and horticultural selections, hybrids and cultivars. The goal of the assessment is to reduce non-native plant invasions in Florida and throughout the Southeastern United States for protection of natural and agricultural areas. This online resource provides information about invasive plants and invasive plant potential around the state and those under caution in other areas.
The UF/IFAS Assessment conclusions on plant invasiveness are color-coded to follow a “stoplight” in which green = go, yellow = caution and red = stop. Red light plants include prohibited, invasive (no uses) and high invasion risk plants. These plants will not be recommended . Yellow light plants include caution and moderate risk plants. These may be recommended but need to be managed to prevent escape. You can access the UF/IFAS Assessment at: assessment.ifas.ufl.edu/. For an example, see weeping bottlebrush, a red-light plant, meaning it is in the high-invasion risk category.
The Florida-Friendly Landscaping Guide to Plant Selection & Landscape Design is online and in print. This guide includes trees, shrubs, vines, groundcovers, grasses, perennials, annuals and turfgrass. If a plant’s status changes and is determined to be under caution to “invasive,” according to the UF/IFAS Assessment, the photo of that plant will be darkened and marked with the word “Invasive” over the photo. This guide is available for online viewing at: http://ffl.ifas.ufl.edu/pdf/FYN_Plant_Selection_Guide_2015.pdf.
By using these companion tools together, we can significantly decrease the number of non-native invasive plants in our state.