Biological control of garlic mustard
Crushed garlic mustard leaves and seeds smell like cultivated garlic and have been used as flavouring in cooking for centuries. Garlic mustard is a brassica from Eurasia that was accidentally taken to North America and became invasive in many of its forests. Together with partners, CABI is exploring the possibility of using specially selected and tested insects from the native range in order to safely control the plants spread and impact in the introduced range.
Biological control of flowering rush
Attractive pink flowers make the Eurasian plant flowering rush a popular aquatic ornamental. But since it was introduced to North America it has become an aggressive invader of freshwater systems in the midwestern/ western USA and western Canada. One likely reason for this is the absence of the natural enemies that keep it in check in its area of origin. CABI is searching for natural enemies that could be introduced to reduce its vigour and spread in North America.
Protecting North America’s wetlands from common reed
Common reed is one of the most widespread plant species in the world. It is invasive in North America where it forms large monocultures in wetlands and along riverbanks and lakesides, which reduce native biodiversity. One reason for its dominance is an absence of natural enemies to check its vigour and spread. CABI is studying several stem-mining moths not currently present in North America to see whether they would be safe and effective biological control agents if introduced.
Biological control of oxeye daisy
Although closely related, Oxeye daisy is an invasive weed in places like North America and Australia, while Shasta daisy remains a garden favourite, especially in North America. CABI is investigating whether specialist natural enemies from oxeye daisy’s area of origin in Eurasia could be introduced in North America and Australia as biological control agents. In North America the popularity of Shasta daisy makes this a challenge because any introduced agent must damage oxeye daisy but not Shasta daisy.
Hope for biological control of houndstongue in the USA?
An invasive weed with close relatives among native species is a challenge for biological control. Houndstongue was introduced accidentally to North America from Eurasia in the mid-19th century. It has since invaded most Canadian provinces and adjacent US states. There are many native plants in the USA in the same family as houndstongue. CABI staff in Switzerland are investigating specialized natural enemies in the area of origin of the weed that could be introduced as biological control agents.
Controlling hoary cress in North America
Trade in seed brought crops to new regions, but many weeds were spread by this route too. Whitetops, also known as hoary cresses, arrived in the USA as contaminants of seed from Eurasia. They are now aggressive invaders of crops, rangeland and riverbanks. One reason for this is the absence of the natural enemies that keep them in check in their area of origin. CABI staff in Switzerland are looking into the prospects for biological control of these invasive plants.
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