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When the butterfly bush blossoms
Date:5/27/2008

This release is available in German.

Halle/Saale. Invasive plant species can flourish better in their new homes than in their place of origin. The reasons for this can be genetic changes or the lack of herbivores such as insects that first have to adapt to the newcomers. These are the conclusions of researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) from their research on Buddleia or the Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) and Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium). Due to this, invasive plant species would have an advantage over other native plant species and could therefore pose a threat to the ecological balance, as researchers have written in the scientific journal Diversity and Distributions.

It blossoms in blue, white or lilac in many gardens. Buddleia was introduced to Europe about one hundred years ago from China and has been cultivated since then. The ornamental shrub soon became popular, but not only in gardens. In post-war Germany the shrub was also able to spread on the rubble of bombed inner cities and in the meantime Buddleia grows wild in large parts of West and South West Germany. Only in the continental East of the country, propagation is hindered by winter frosts. Although the blossoms of the Buddleia are aesthetically pleasing and provide a food source for butterflies, this beauty has a dark side to it however. This immigrant also known as the butterfly bush can easily go to seed and form dense populations. Thus it has the potential to displace native species and becomes a safety risk along railway embankments because it rampantly grows there. Switzerland, Spain and France are trying to combat Buddleia, while in the USA its propagation is being observed critically and in New Zealand Buddleia is causing economic problems because it suppresses native vegetation.

In order to improve knowledge about the mech
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Contact: Tilo Arnhold
presse@ufz.de
49-341-235-1635
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert  

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