A large part of the work of a gardener who chooses to work with native plants involves combating the encroachment of the many invasive species that have been introduced to the environment over the past few centuries. Presently the Natural Resource Commission is adopting a rule that will prohibit and restrict the introduction, sale, distribution and transport of invasive terrestrial plants into Indiana. This is a big step toward keeping our ecosystem as close to its original state as possible and gives the native plants a little leg up in the struggle against these aggressive invading species that tend to take over whole habitats. A list of the 44 prohibited invasive terrestrial plants can be found on the INCR website linked here.
Along with this legislative motion the Indiana Invasive Species Council is pushing to have the Callery pear and it’s approximately 20 cultivars and varieties added to that list. The Callery pear was not expected to be an invasive species but with the introduction of more varieties the trees started to cross pollinate and produce viable seed which has lead to the extensive spread of these species. Bad smelling flowers, messy fruit, and branches prone to breakage all add up to this being a poor choice for Indiana gardeners and homeowners.
The IISC has compiled a list of native Indiana trees that support songbirds, butterflies, and pollinators of all kinds with similar aesthetic value as the Callery pear but without all the mess and headache. Some of these native alternatives include Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea), Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida), and Green Hawthorn (Crataegus viridis). The IICS website is a treasure trove of information so a trip through there is a must do for a true Indiana gardener.
We here at J. Lynne Associates are thrilled that our Indiana government is taking steps to protect our native plants and wildlife!