Invasive Species

Invasive nonnative plants threaten native species with habitat loss, displacement, and severe population declines, thus seriously reducing biodiversity
--John C. Sawhill, former President and CEO, The Nature Conservancy

The focus of this web page is the most common nonnative invasive plants, but the reason for having such a page is to promote the restoration of land so as to provide for a healthy habitat for native plants and the diversity of life they support. Our plan is to provide not only pictures of invasive plants and brief descriptions, but constructive information for removal of these plants and restoration of the land to a state that encourages the return of native plants, along with sources for obtaining native plants.

We would be interested in hearing from you, what have you tried that has worked and what has been less than successful. Email to Invasive Species Editor with your tips, tricks and thoughts.

The Top Four Invasive Plants In Big Sur

Ice Plant
Iceplant (Carpobrotus edulis) is a ground-hugging succulent perennial that roots at the nodes, has a creeping habit, and often forms deep mats covering large areas. Shallow, fibrous roots are produced at every node that is in contact with the soil. Iceplant has been widely planted for soil stabilization and landscaping, and is well known by most Californians for its succulent three-sided leaves and its propensity to form deep mats and monospecific stands. In California flowering occurs throughout the year, peaking in late spring and early summer; flowers do not appear to require specific pollinators.

Removal Techniques - Coming Soon

French Broom
French broom (Genista monspessulana) is an upright, evergreen shrub, commonly to ten feet tall. The round stems are covered with silvery, silky hair, and the small leaves are ususally arranged in groups of three. About eighty-five percent of the photosynthetic tissue of French broom is in leaf tissue. The small (less than half-inch) yellow flowers are pea-like and clustered in groups of four to ten. The mostly inch-long pods are covered with hairs. French broom foliage and seeds are toxic, containing a variety of quinolizidine alkaloids, especially in young leaves.

Removal Techniques - Coming Soon

Pampas Grass
What we refer to around here as Pampas Grass in reality is a closely related species, Jubata grass. Jubata grass (Cortadaria jubata) is a perennial grass six to twenty-three feet tall with long leaves arising from a tufted base or tussock. The inflorescence or flower cluster is a plumed panicle at the end of a long stem. Stems generally are at least twice as long as the tussock. Plumes consist of hairy female flowers, deep violet when immature, turning pinkish or tawny cream-white at maturity. Jubata grass is easily confused with, and often called, pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana). The two species are distinguished by stem height, leaf, plume, and spikelet color, florets, leaf tip, and presence of viable seed. Pampas Grass rarely produces viable seed, A small clump of Jubata Grass can produce a million plus viable seeds a year The tussocks of jubata grass are less erect and more spreading and not fountain-like, when compared to tussocks of Cortaderia selloana.

Removal Techniques - Coming Soon

Cape ivy
Cape ivy (Delairea odorata) is a perennial vine with shiny, five- to six-pointed leaves, usually with two small stipule-like lobes. There is one leaf at each node. Foliage is green to yellow-green and has a distinct odor. Plants have extensive waxy stolons running above and below ground. Below-ground stems are purple. Each flower is a yellow, round discoid head the size of a dime. Flowers are arranged in groups of twenty or more. It spreads vegetatively by stolons and fragmentation of stolons. Ninety-five percent of fragments of green stolons containing only one node establish, and drying stolon fragments in full sun for ten weeks does not stop them from rooting. Cape ivy in California does not spread by seed! Be careful when transporting Cape ivy that has been pulled by hand, as just dropping a couple of fragments may be all it takes to cause infestation in a previously pristine site.

Removal Techniques. - Coming Soon

More information coming this spring and summer, check back!

Information for this page came from a number of sources, much of it is from Invasive Plants of California Wildlands - University of California Press, 2000


Coast Property Owners Association, P.O. Box 59, Big Sur, CA 93920
© 2004 by Coast Property Owners Association