Invasive plant potential threat to Canadian landscape

Jun 20, 2007

It might sound like something out of a 1950s B-movie but the potential proliferation of the native Asian tropical plant kudzu here in Canada is no imaginary threat, warns Professor Rowan Sage of ecology and evolutionary biology. His research suggests that the landscape-altering invader, once dubbed “the plant that ate the South” for its ability to kill trees and other plants by overtopping and shading them, may be headed this way.

Sage and his team are looking at climate controls on this invasive woody vine that currently covers over three million hectares in the U.S. and that after more than 100 years of having a stable northern limit is now migrating north.

Heather Coiner, one of the researchers on the kudzu project, hypothesizes that warming winter temperatures are responsible for kudzu’s recent invasions into the Midwestern U.S. and predicts that if warming trends continue, kudzu should be able to survive as far north as Canada in as little as 10 to 15 years.

This month the Sage lab was awarded a special “accelerator” grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, a funding top-up aimed at researchers deemed to be “on the verge of a breakthrough.” Future research will see tests developed to predict the movement of kudzu used to predict the range movements of other plants.

“It’s important to note that the Canadian government does not specifically regulate kudzu and it continues to be available for purchase from Canadian companies,” Sage said. “Our hope is that this research will be seen as an opportunity for the federal government to protect Canadian ecosystems and farms by pre-empting the possible invasion of Canada by this unwanted species.”

Source: University of Toronto

Explore further: Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Android gains in US, basic phones almost extinct

2 hours ago

The Google Android platform grabbed the majority of mobile phones in the US market in early 2014, as consumers all but abandoned non-smartphone handsets, a survey showed Friday.

Quest for extraterrestrial life not over, experts say

2 hours ago

The discovery of an Earth-sized planet in the "habitable" zone of a distant star, though exciting, is still a long way from pointing to the existence of extraterrestrial life, experts said Friday. ...

Recommended for you

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

7 hours ago

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

11 hours ago

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Researchers develop new model of cellular movement

(Phys.org) —Cell movement plays an important role in a host of biological functions from embryonic development to repairing wounded tissue. It also enables cancer cells to break free from their sites of ...

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...