Sunday, January 15, 2012


Giant Reed (Arundo donax)

Photos and Text from Mark Hengesbaugh: 
Nothing in Sabino eats or parasitizes the non-native Giant Reed, or Arundo donax, so the leaves stay perfectly formed and intact.

Native acacias host hemiparasitic mistletoe, the phainopeplas who eat mistletoe berries, as well beetles, spiders and a variety of other native species that a healthy ecosystem depends on.  We often hear that “weeds out compete native plants,” but that’s not precisely true. Invasive non-natives like Giant Reed (Arundo donax) go by different rules in their adopted landscape so it’s not a fair contest. Invasives have no predators, parasites or competitors; they use the ecosystem’s water, sun, and nutrients, but lose no energy supporting any of the native bugs, birds or wildlife. Aggressive invasive species like Arundo get a free ride. That’s one of the reasons they spread so quickly—exponentially.

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