Invasive and Aggressive

Invasive and Aggressive

While hiking at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge just before sunset, I noticed a clump of these pink blossoming flowers and took this shot. After spending a few minutes on the Internet I found out that this flower is the Musk Thistle; an invasive plant introduced into the Unites States in the early 1800's from Europe and Asia.

A weed is any plant in an undesirable place; the term is usually used by farmers and gardeners to denote unwanted plants. It turns out that this beautiful "weed" is pretty aggressive with an unfair advantage over other plants since it is unpalatable to livestock. Invasive Species, whether plants or animals, generally have a negative impact on their newfound habitats; they can change the functions of ecosystems, cause extinction, induce economical burdens, and even be a threat to global biodiversity. In the United States, "economic damages associated with invasive species' effects and control costs are estimated at $120 billion per year". * *

Although the definitions of "invasive species" exclude humans, ecologically speaking, we are the most invasive of them all. And of course, there is also the question of how the Musk Thistle found its way to America from Europe and Asia. Mirror, mirror on the wall...
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