New Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants Book

WITH THE LANDMARK release of Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants, Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) presents the first-ever double issue in the acclaimed All Region Guide series.

In 1996, BBG published the groundbreaking handbook Invasive Plants: Weeds of the Global Garden—the first comprehensive publication to identify North America’s worst invasive plants—and for years readers have asked for a companion volume featuring ecologically safe alternatives.

This special double volume educates gardeners not only about the threat of invasive species but also about the variety of native plants that are beautiful, regionally characteristic, and fulfill the same needs as their nonnative counterparts commonly used in horticulture.

By selecting regional natives, gardeners can help to preserve the natural character of their region as well as the complex interrelationships between native plants and the butterflies, birds, and myriad other creatures with which they have coevolved. This All-Region Guide defines what an invasive plant is and makes it easy for the reader to select an environmentally appropriate alternative.

Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants is an indispensable guide for everyone who loves dazzling gardens and cares about the health of North America’s natural landscapes. Invasive plants, the overwhelming majority of which are not regionally native, brazenly spread unchecked across residential landscapes, parks, preserves, roadsides, and other wild lands, supplanting native species and ultimately threatening the ancient biological communities in their path.

In fact, most scientists now consider invasive species to be one of the top two threats to this planet’s native plants and animals (the other is habitat loss). Invasive species cause major environmental damage amounting to almost $120 billion a year.

Yet invasive plants are still commercially available, and a few of them remain wildly popular. Japanese barberry, for example, is one of the hottest-selling plants in the nursery trade, and Norway maple is one of the most widely planted trees in the country.

In the Garden’s newest handbook, plant professionals and home gardeners alike will discover hundreds of spectacular native plants for every region, specially chosen as alternatives to the invasive species that are degrading the continent’s natural habitats. These beautiful wildflowers, shrubs, and trees not only serve as alternatives to invasive plants but also offer food for butterflies, birds, and other wildlife.

The book features an indispensable encyclopedia of native alternatives to invasive plants that is conveniently organized by horticultural plant group: trees, shrubs, vines, herbaceous plants, and grasses.

For each invasive species, one to four regional natives are profiled, including a full-color photographs, ornamental attributes and uses, related species, and growing tips, along with a list of additional alternatives, provided on Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s website at bbg.org/nativealternatives.

Ideally the native alternative matches all or most of the invasive plant’s desirable characteristics, such as flowers and bloom time, foliage, fruit, form, texture, color, hardiness and ease of care.