Along the edges of the lakes and swamps in Florida is a bush with magnificent yellow flowers that are in full bloom in October. Once a native of Central and South America, its alluring, showy blossoms attracted gardeners who planted it here in Florida and other southern States. This plant is called the primrose willow.
Unfortunately, this shrub can be very invasive and it outcompetes native trees and shrubs. Not only does it grow as a shrub but primrose throws out runners to form dense mats on lakes. It is costly to remove this plant from areas where it is choking the native plant community. One of the best methods to control it is not to plant it.
You might think so what? What is the big deal if a new plant or animal overtakes a community? But invasive species can destroy and eliminate other organisms completely. So if this primrose stunted or eliminated the growth of cypress woodlands, it would also eliminate habitat for colonial nesting birds such as egrets, herons and wood storks. Dense mats over ponds impact fish populations and changes water chemistries.
Not all non-native plants become invasive. In some areas, invasive plants are not sold. If you are not sure, ask the nursery personnel. By avoiding the planting of invasive plants, you will help maintain the biodiversity of the wildlife and plant life in your area.