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List of invasive plant species in the Indiana Dunes facts for kids

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Purple loosestrife2
Purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria

The Indiana Dunes is an area of land beside Lake Michigan, in the State of Indiana, United States. It includes Indiana Dunes National Park and Indiana Dunes State Park. This article is about non-native plant species, specifically the invasive species which have colonized that area. Invasive plants are those plants that aggressively spread throughout an area and out-compete other plant species, normally those that are native to the area.

Negative impacts

Invasive plant species in the Indiana Dunes have several negative impacts. They may:

  • Displace the variety of flowering plants, substituting a monoculture
  • Grow densely around trails, roads, and water, making travel difficult or impossible
  • Introduce toxins into the environment
  • Have unpleasant spines or thorns
  • Smother ponds, killing fish

Specific examples include:

  • Purple loosestrife – establishes a monoculture, reducing the variety of wildlife.
  • Bush honeysuckles – prevents regeneration of woody plants and herbs, reducing bird habitat.
  • Glossy buckthorn – prevents regeneration of woody plants, slowly destroying forests.
  • Garlic mustard – alters the chemistry of the soil to kill other seeds, creating a monoculture.
  • Asian bittersweet – this vine can kill or damage trees and shrubs.
  • Crown vetch – alters the soil chemistry and pushes out the variety of other plants.
  • Japanese knotweed – tolerates floods and drought, creates a monoculture.
  • Spotted knapweed – releases toxins into the soil to poison its competition.
  • Common reed – this introduced non-native species aggressively pushes the native species and other aquatic plants out of the ecosystem.
  • Canada thistle – out-competes native vegetation in prairies, savannas, and dunes.

Species established within the Dunes

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List of invasive plant species in the Indiana Dunes Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.