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Home arrow The Daily Dirt arrow Wednesday What's New: Backyard Invasion
Wednesday What\'s New: Backyard Invasion Print E-mail
Written by Heleigh Bostwick    Wednesday, 07 February 2007
Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria

A new exhibit opened recently at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, PA. Aptly titled Backyard Invasion, the focus of the exhibit is invasive and endangered plant species in Pennsylvania. What makes this exhibit even more interesting is that it consists entirely of drawings, paintings, etchings, and giclees or digital prints.

Typical of real life as well, most of the endangered plants featured in the exhibit are native to North America, while the majority of the invasive plant species were introduced from Europe and Asia. When conditions are favorable these exotic species are able to outcompete native species, eventually causing a decline and possibly extinction. Examples of exotics that have escaped cultivation and "taken over" include Tatarian honeysuckle, purple loosestrife (illustrated above), English ivy, and Norway maples. Exotics tend to have more aggressive growth patterns, for instance a denser leaf canopy and heavy seed production as in the case of the Norway maple, that make them difficult to eradicate.

Of the 3400 plants growing in Pennsylvania, more than one-third are exotic species according to the Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association and with each passing year more and more native plant species are placed on Federal and State threatened and endangered plant lists.

Backyard Invasion was mounted in response to a similar exhibit titled Landscape Under Siege currently on view at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven, CT.

Source: New exhibit focuses on invasive plants