Invasive species are alien species that have been introduced to Florida. They have overpopulated and harmed their new environment. Invasive species negatively impact habitats and bioregions, they cause environmental, economic, and ecological damage.
There are numerous invasive species in Florida, therefore we have listed the invasive species that have established populations in the state.
Invasive Animals of Florida
The 28 invasive animals in Florida with established populations include:
1. Black rat
Black rats (Rattus rattus) were introduced to Florida in the 1800s. They do not depend on man and can live in natural environments. They have become widely distributed. These long-tailed rodents originated in India and are now found throughout the world.
The black rate is light brown or black with a light belly. They are serious pests to farmers feeding on crops.
2. Wild boar
Wild boars (Sus scrofa) can grow to six feet in length and weigh more than 150 pounds. They can be found in sixty-seven counties in Florida, living in a variety of habitats. They prefer freshwater marshes, pine Flatwoods, open agricultural areas, and oak-cabbage palm hammocks.
They travel in small family groups feeding on plants and animals. They disturb ground cover vegetation and soil, leaving areas looking plowed. They are also known as feral swine and were introduced by Spanish explorers in the early 1500s.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services regulates the holding and transportation of live wild hogs. They can be hunted throughout the year with no fee payable. Holding or transporting these hogs requires a permit in Florida.
3. Nine-banded armadillo
Nine-banded armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus) are invasive to Florida causing damage to lawns, vegetable gardens, sports fields, nurseries, cemeteries, flower beds, and orange groves. They have reduced the number of sea turtles and bobwhite quail, eating the quail and turtle eggs.
The nine-banded armadillo is known for causing structural problems, and digging burrows under buildings. They are significant pests in Florida. They were first introduced in the 1920s and have reproduced quickly, spreading through most of the state.
They are a serious concern as they carry bacteria that cause leprosy. Leprosy has been detected in these armadillos in Florida.
4. House Sparrow
The House Sparrow (Passer Domesticus) was first introduced in New York in 1889 and has now spread to Florida and other states. They are an invasive species that is aggressive and territorial, damaging the nests of other birds.
They compete against native birds for food and can reproduce at a fast rate, making them exceptionally difficult to control.
5. Muscovy Duck
The Muscovy duck (Cairina moschata) is native to South and Central America and was domesticated and bred. Today they can be found in high densities throughout Florida.
They look like small geese with long necks and heavy bodies. They are black with white on the wings. They have red on their faces. Feral populations can be found in Florida where there is management control in place for the ducks, their nests, and eggs.
It is legal to humanely euthanasia these ducks. You cannot capture them and release them elsewhere. They compete with native species, transmit disease, and damage property.
6. Rock Pigeon
Rock pigeons (Columba livia) are annoying, but they seem harmless when you see them in the park. These pests prefer buildings and being close to humans. They carry fleas, and lice, have acidic droppings and carry E-Coli.
They are known for damaging property in Tampa Bay and throughout Florida. Originating in Europe, they have gray-blue bodies, small heads, and two black bands on their wings. They feed off food waste and nest on buildings and homes.
The droppings weaken metalwork, discolor wood, and can cause structural and expensive damage. Their droppings are also a safety hazard, spreading disease.
7. Indian Peafowl
Indian Peafowls (Pavo cristatus) are similar to guinea fowl and pheasants. They are native to Sri Lanka and India and were introduced to Florida in the 1950s. It is believed that ornamental birds escaped and have reproduced throughout the state.
They are established and widespread. They are common in northern and central Florida, where they are found in agricultural areas, suburban gardens, and city edges. They are opportunistic feeders and destructive to peanut crops, cereal crops, and flowering plants.
7. European Starling
The European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) was released in New York in the 1800s and has established populations throughout the Eastern United States, including Florida. They are invasive birds with a population of more than two hundred million.
They negatively impact native birds competing for food. Woodpeckers and bluebirds are at high risk with reduced nesting sites. The adult starling can grow to twenty-three centimeters in length. This stocky bird has pointed wings and long bills.
The European starling is glossy black with males being larger than females.
8. Black Spiny-tailed Iguana
The Black Spiny-tailed Iguana (Ctenosaura similis) was introduced to Florida in 1978 with an established population that is increasing. They are native to southern Mexico and are common in Dade, Lee, and Charlotte counties in Florida.
As adults, they grow to four feet in length. They will hide in a burrow if approached. They are agile climbers. You are likely to encounter this iguana in suburban developments, urban areas, agricultural habitats, and coastal uplands.
9. Brown Anole
The Brown Anole (Anolis sagrei) is a small invasive lizard that can grow to nine inches in length. They vary in color from light to dark brown, gray, or black. They have patterns on their backs and sides.
They are highly invasive and can reach high population densities. They can expand their range quickly and consumes native lizards, including green anoles.
10. Burmese Python
The Burmese Python (Python bivittatus) is native to southeast Asia and has established populations in South Florida since the 20th century. They were first discovered in Florida in the 1930s in the Everglades National Park. Sightings have increased exponentially since 2008.
This python preys on mammals, birds, and crocodiles in the Everglades with devastating impacts on native animals. It is estimated that there are approximately one million Burmese pythons in South Florida. They have been banned from import since January 2012.
This snake disrupts the native ecosystem and competes against native species for food. They have a high reproductive potential and long life spans. They can live for more than twenty years and females breed every second year, producing up to fifty eggs.
11. Green Iguana
The Green Iguana (Iguana iguana) is an invasive species with a negative impact on native wildlife in Florida. They can be captured and humanely euthanized throughout the year without a permit. They have been added to Florida’s Prohibited species list.
This large, green lizard has spikes down the middle of the back, neck, and tail. The male develops a dewlap or throat flap and is larger than the female. They grow to more than five feet in length and can weigh up to seventeen pounds.
The female reaches sexual maturity at two years of age and can lay up to seventy eggs. They can live to ten years of age in the wild and nineteen years in captivity. They live in a variety of habitats, including urban and suburban areas, small towns, and agricultural land.
They feed on a variety of vegetation, including fruits. They eat ornamental plants making them a nuisance to homeowners. They also feed on dead animals and bird eggs. They were first introduced to Florida in the 1960s and are believed to have escaped captivity.
12. Mediterranean House Gecko
The Mediterranean House Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) can grow to thirteen centimeters and has sticky toe pads that help them climb. They are light gray to white with dark markings. This is an old-world species and is common in Florida where it is associated with human development, and found near outdoor lighting and buildings.
They are nocturnal and are often observed on walls near outside lights, where they feed on the insects attracted to the lights. The females lay numerous egg clutches throughout summer. They are established in Florida and have moved northward.
They are highly adaptable and is a successful invader.
13. Pond Slider
Pond Sliders (Trachemys scripta) were introduced to Florida and you need a permit in the state to keep this turtle as a personal pet. They must be kept indoors or in an outdoor enclosure with a strong and secure barrier that runs six inches below the ground to reduce escape.
They are common in six counties in Florida and are expanding. They are found in freshwater rivers, streams, and lakes. They are highly adaptable and rival native species for food and resources.
14. Cane Toad
Cane Toads (Rhinella marina) are large amphibians introduced to Florida. They are invasive and poisonous to most animals that try to consume them. To have one as a personal pet, you must obtain the necessary licenses.
This toad is red-brown or gray-brown with a yellow or beige belly. They secrete a milky-white toxin to protect them against predators, making them harmful to domestic pets. They grow to nine inches in length and are often confused with the native southern toads.
These toads are common in suburban, urban, and agricultural areas in Florida. They are frequent visitors to yards, canals, and ponds.
15. Greenhouse Frog
The Greenhouse Frog (Eleutherodactylus planirostris) was first introduced to Florida in 1875 and has become very well established in thirty-three counties in the state.
This frog is known to compete against other small terrestrial species for food. This small frog is native to Cuba and the Cayman Islands. They were first recorded in Dade County.
They grow to 3.2 centimeters and can be striped or mottled. They are rusty brown with an off-white belly. It is a secretive species and is common in greenhouses, nurseries, and gardens.
They are established in coastal uplands, low-density suburban areas, and agricultural areas.
16. African Jewelfish
The African Jewelfish (Rubricatochromis letourneuxi) is a cichlid. It is tan or straw-colored with bright blue spots and red pigments. They are found in shallow ponds, creeks, drainage ditches, and canals.
They are common in the peninsula drainages in Florida and have been encountered in Tampa Bay, Lake Okeechobee, the Everglades, and the Indian River.
17. Blue Tilapia
Blue Tilapia (Oreochromis aureus) are blue-gray with vertical bars. They have long, flat dorsal fins that run the length of the body. The male has a bright blue head and light blue on the sides. They grow to twenty inches and can weigh up to five pounds.
They were first introduced to Florida in the 1960s. They originated in Africa and the Middle East. They have populated in ponds, rivers, lakes, springs, canals, and streams throughout Florida. They feed on green algae and plankton, sharing a diet with native fish species.
They compete against native fish for food and resources, making them highly invasive.
18. Mayan Cichlid
The Mayan Cichlid (Mayaheros urophthalmus) is a serious pest for fish lovers and light tackle lovers. They were first encountered in Florida in the early 1980s and have spread throughout South Florida. This is a small fish that is aggressive and hardy.
They are fun on light spinning and fish flying gear and make a delicious meal.
Oscars (Astronotus ocellatus) prefer slow-moving waters with sunken logs and branches to give them a place to hide. They are brown-gray to olive-green. The tail has an orange-bordered black spot, which is used to confuse predators.
This is a stocky fish and will aggressively protect their offspring. They are cichlids and are common in the aquarium trade. They readily breed and have established themselves in South Florida after a deliberate introduction in Dade County in the late 1950s.
They are established in six counties of South Florida, including the Everglades National Park.
20. Spotted Tilapia
The Spotted Tilapia (Pelmatolapia mariae) is a cichlid, similar to black bass or sunfish. They grow to thirty-one centimeters and originate from Tropical and West Africa. They were accidentally introduced into Florida in the Dade Country in the early 1970s and are now an established invasive species.
This fish has a round snout and are dark olive to light yellow with eight dark bars on the side. There are up to six spots between the bars. They live in a variety of habitats, including still and flowing waters.
21. Dilemma Orchid Bee
Orchid bees (Euglossa dilemma) are the size of a honeybee. They are bright with a metallic sheen. They are native to Mexico, Central, and tropical South America, and have been introduced to Florida. It is believed that they were accidentally imported from Mexico.
They are well-established in South Florida, especially in Dade, Palm Beach, and Broward counties. The Dilemma Orchid Bee is metallic green, growing to 1.3cm. They have dark-colored wings.
Only the female possesses a sting, which can be used more than once. It is not as painful as a honeybee sting. They are agile and can hover for long periods when moving between flowers.
22. Island Apple Snail
Island Apple Snails (Pomacea maculata) are larger than freshwater snails. They have an oval shell that is perforated. This is an invasive species in Florida, believed to have been released in the early 1980s.
It has rapidly expanded throughout Florida and can now be found from Alabama to South Carolina and Texas.
23. New Guinea Flatworm
The New Guinea flatworm (Platydemus manokwari) is a predatory flatworm that can grow to five inches. They are shiny with dark brown to black bodies and a pale stripe in the center. They have pale gray bellies and long heads.
They are commonly found in potted plants, leaf litter, and under rocks where it is dark and moist. They are nocturnal and are seen crawling up walls or coming out from under foundations.
This flatworm preys on earthworms, small invertebrates, land snails, and slugs. They are native to New Guinea and were introduced to Florida in Dade County in 2012. They can now be found in forty counties in Florida.
They consume native snails in Florida, including threatened species. They are also potential hosts for rate lungworm parasites, which can be transmitted to humans.
24. Western Honey Bee
The honeybee (Apis mellifera) provides a pollination service for natural ecosystems. This offers an economic benefit to people, though it is still an invasive species in Florida. It was introduced from Europe in the 1600s by Spanish explorers who introduced hives to Florida.
They pollinate approximately four agricultural crops, including strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, avocado, and squash. They have assisted Florida in being the third largest honey producer in the nation.
25. Asian Lady Beetle
The Asian Lady Beetle (Harmonia axyridis) was introduced from Asia accidentally during the twentieth century. It quickly became established in the late 1980s.
This ladybug varies in color and can be solid orange or orange with black spots, some are red with black spots. They are often confused with the seven-spotted lady beetle, both feeding on the same plants and insect hosts.
26. African Big-headed Ant
The African Big-headed Ant (Pheidole megacephala) is on the top one hundred world’s worst invaders. It is a serious pest in southern Florida and is becoming a nuisance, displacing other ants.
It is believed that the increase in African big-headed ant populations in Florida was due to excessive hurricane activity between 2003 and 2005. Today they kill trees and damage lawns. They do not sting or cause structural damage. They will bite if their nest is disbursed.
It is a soil-nesting ant, often confused with termites. They leave piles of loose sandy soil, which can be found near windows, outside paving, kitchens, and around doors. Their colonies are numerous and populations are extensive, making them very difficult to control.
27. Red Imported Fire Ant
The Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta) was introduced from Brazil in the 1930s. Since being introduced, the ant has become an urban and agricultural pest, causing medical and environmental harm.
They are not easy to ignore, they have been linked to stinging humans, causing horticultural and agricultural damage, and causing damage to native fauna and flora. They have placed significant social and political pressure on the government to solve the red imported fire ant problem.
The US Federal and State Governments have funded research to detect and prevent infestations.
28. Ghost Ant
Ghost Ants (Tapinoma melanocephalum) are invasive species found in Florida, preferring temperature climates. This is a small ant that can grow to one-sixteenth of an inch. They have a dark brown head and thorax, milky white legs and abdomen, and pale antennae.
They are known to invade homes scavenging for food and escaping cold weather. They are common in homes that don’t have proper sealing and those that have left food out. They are invasive pests and not easy to eradicate.
Invasive Plants of Florida
The 23 invasive plants in Florida with established populations include:
29. Rosary Pea
The Rosary Pea (Abrus precatorius) is native to India and tropical Asia. It has been used n Florida landscapes as an ornamental plant. It is toxic and can be fatal if accidentally ingested. A single seed ingested from this plant can be fatal to a human.
This high-climbing woody plant has slender branches and oval or oblong leaves. The pea-like flowers are pale white to pink, or violet. The seed pod is oblong. It can be found in south and central Florida in undisturbed hammocks and pinelands.
It invades disturbed sites, such as roadsides and pastures. It grows over small shrubs and trees and is very difficult to remove with its deep taproot system. It is a prohibited plant on the Florida Noxious Weed Index. It can displace and invade native plant communities.
30. Earpod Wattle
The Earpod Wattle (Acacia auriculiformis) is native to Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and Australia. It was introduced to Florida as an ornamental tree in 1932. This evergreen tree can grow to fifty feet in height with a compact spread.
The leaves have parallel veins and the flowers are yellow-orange. It produces a flat, oblong fruit that resembles the human ear. It is common in coastal and southern counties in Florida.
It is a serious ecological threat as a fast-growing tree that invades scrubs, hammocks, and pinelands in southern Florida. It displaces native vegetation and shades rare plants. The tree can produce more than forty-five thousand seeds each year.
31. Persian Silk Tree
This tree (Albizia julibrissin) is an attractive tree that threatens the landscape in Florida. It originates from China and is a popular landscape tree in Florida for its fragrant pink flowers, that bloom from April to July.
Over the years they have escaped cultivation, moving into natural areas where they compete with the native vegetation. They can grow in several soil types and prefer sunny areas, growing to more than twenty-five feet in height.
The seeds can remain dormant for years and are spread through wildlife and water. They are a problem close to rivers where the seeds are easily transported. They are often seen in disturbed areas and along roadways, establishing themselves easily.
The Coralberry (Ardisia crenata) is a serious invasive species in Florida, originally from Japan and northern India. This plant is highly toxic to livestock. It is a small shrub that was originally used as an ornamental plant and escaped cultivation in the early 1980s.
It has spread into wooded areas growing red berries and glossy foliage. It can grow to six feet in height and is multi-stemmed. The leaves are thick and dark green, the flowers are pink or white and the berries are red, often eaten by birds.
It has established itself in numerous native areas in Florida and is common in hardwood hammocks. It shades native seeds and shorter plants, stunting their development and growth. The coralberry’s seeds have a ninety percent germination rate.
It is prohibited to plant the coralberry in Florida and it is on the Florida noxious weed index. It is a Category I invasive species as it can displace and invade native plant communities.
33. Shoebutton Ardisia
The Shoebutton Ardisia (Ardisia elliptica) is native to China, Southeast Asia, and India. It was introduced to Florida in the 1900s as an ornamental plant. It is shade-tolerant and produces small clusters of hanging fruits, which birds spread.
This evergreen tree can grow to five meters and has smooth stems and red foliage. The leaves are oval or oblong and the flowers are star-shaped. They are common in coastal central and south Florida.
It grows well in wet areas, old fields, and low-lying areas. It is abundant in disturbed wetlands, tree islands, and hammocks. It invades mangroves and cypress areas forming dense stands in forests, and forcing native plants out.
34. Beach Sheoak
The Beach Sheoak (Casuarina equisetifolia) has escaped cultivation, naturalizing itself in Florida. It is fast growing and can grow to one hundred and fifty feet in height. It is common near rivers and streams.
It prefers frost-free areas and is often seen along the coast. It can thrive on beach dunes, tidal swamps, maritime hammocks, and disturbed coastal sites. It is the most common invasive pine species in Florida.
35. Camphor Tree
The Camphor Tree (Cinnamomum camphora) is native to Eastern Asia and was introduced to Florida as an ornamental plant in 1875. It was used on plantations for its camphor production. It proved unprofitable in Florida and escaped cultivation, spreading into natural areas where birds help with its dispersal.
This is a large evergreen tree growing to more than twenty meters. It produces small fragrant flowers and small, dark blue to black fruits. It is commonly found in north and central Florida.
The tree can invade disturbed areas including roadsides. They invade hardwood hammocks, scrubby Flatwoods, floodplains, and scrub. It is pushing out the endangered Florida jujube. The mature tree can produce up to one hundred thousand seeds each year.
It is considered a Category I invasive species in Florida as it displaces and invades native plant communities.
Taro (Colocasia esculenta) originated in India and southeastern Asia. It was introduced to Florida in 1910 as a substitute for potatoes. It is now widespread throughout Florida along canals, ditches, streams, and marshy shores.
This perennial herb can grow to 1.5 meters and has thick shoots and arrowhead-shaped leaves. It is often confused with an elephant ear. The large leaves shade native species, leading to stunted growth and development.
It is considered a Category I invasive species in Florida as it displaces and invades native plant communities.
Tuckeroo (Cupaniopsis anacardioides) is native to Australia and New Guinea. It was introduced to Florida in the 1960s as an ornamental tree. It escaped cultivation and now invades natural areas, forming dense monocultures. It crowds out and competes against native plants for light and nutrients.
This slender tree can grow to ten meters with oblong leaves and white to yellow flowers. It is common in central and south Florida. It invades beach dunes, tropical hammocks, mangroves, scrubs, coastal strands, and marshes.
38. Common Water Hyacinth
The Common Water Hyacinth (Pontederia crassipes) is native to South America and was introduced to New Orleans in 1884 as an ornamental plant. It is now found in freshwater systems in Florida.
This is a perennial free-floating plant with dark roots. The rosette leaves are inflated and the flowers are lavender-blue with yellow. They can grow in any freshwater environment, varying in size and growing up to three feet in height.
They form dense and impenetrable mats, which clog waterways. It crowds the freshwater systems, forcing native plants from the surface of the water. The mats they form degrade the water quality, reducing oxygen in the water and eliminating fish.
39. Cogon Grass
Cogon Grass (Imperata cylindrica) releases a substance into soil that makes it difficult for other plants to grow. It forms dense colonies anywhere where it establishes itself. Where there are large infestations, the risk of fire is greatly increased.
They displace native plants and ground-nesting animals by creating a dense ground cover. It is an aggressive invasive species that can grow to six feet in height. It is native to East Africa and Asia and was introduced by accident in packing material that was produced in Japan.
40. Peruvian Primrose-Willow
The Peruvian Primrose-Willow (Ludwigia peruviana) is native to South America. It was introduced to Florida in the early 1900s. It does well in wetland systems and releases millions of seeds each year.
The seeds can germinate even when floating and they are known for forming floating islands. This perennial semi-aquatic shrub can grow to fifteen feet with narrow leaves and solitary flowers.
It colonizes quickly and established dense infestations, forcing out native vegetation and reducing the diversity of native wildlife.
41. Japanese Climbing Fern
The Japanese Climbing Fern (Lygodium japonicum) is an invasive species in Florida with a tangle of wiry fronds and fern-like leaves. It infests public conservation areas in the north and west Florida, growing in moist or dry woods, along rivers, and ditches. It can survive well in sunny and shaded areas.
It originates from Japan and was introduced as an ornamental plant in the 1930s and has rapidly spread throughout north and west Florida. It climbs over the tops of trees and shrubs, forming dense canopies and shading native vegetation below.
42. Climbing Maidenhair
Climbing Maidenhair (Lygodium microphyllum) is native to Africa and Asia. It was first recorded in Florida in 1958 at Delray Beach nursery. It reproduces with wind-dispersed pores, enabling it to spread quickly.
This plant has leafy branches and has been reported in south and central Florida from Duval County to the East Coast. It climbs into tree canopies and competes with vegetation and trees for light. It engulfs Everglade tree islands, cypress swamps, wetland marshes, and pinelands.
43. Broad-leaved Paperbark
The Broad-leaved Paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia) has a black trunk and white branches. It has five veined leaves. It originates from the South Pacific and was introduced to Florida, where it is an invasive species in the south and central areas.
It invades numerous habitats including wet swamplands to dry uplands. It grows in partial shade, growing to one hundred feet. It displaces native vegetation and leads to wildlife habitat loss. They are often cut down and processed into mulch to try and control their spread.
It was introduced to Florida in the 1900s as an ornamental plant and was intentionally spread in the Everglades, changing the dynamics of the ecosystem. It was used as a landscape tree in yards until the late 1970s.
44. Fishbone Fern
The Fishbone Fern (Nephrolepis cordifolia) is an invasive plant in Florida and is considered a Category I invasive species, spreading throughout most of Florida.
This is a wood fern that grows in woodland areas. It can grow to three feet in height and three inches in width. It poses a serious threat to native species, spreading aggressively and forming dense stands, which displace native vegetation.
45. Skunk Vine
The Skunk Vine (Paederia foetida) is an aggressive invasive species that produces multiple stems, up to thirty-five feet in length. They can quickly grow across the ground, over shrubs and trees, fences, lamp posts, and artificial structures.
It is an evergreen vine and has an unpleasant odor. If you crush or break the leaf it has a sewerage smell. It is an attractive plant and is often kept as an ornamental plant. It is highly invasive in Florida and was introduced from Asia in the 1800s
It is a noxious weed in Floria and it is illegal to import, sell, grow, propagate, or transport the plant. It damages and kills native vegetation, thriving in a host of habitats in Florida.
46. Water Spangles
Water Spangles (Salvinia minima) are native to south and central America and were introduced along the St John’s River in Florida in the early 1920s. It was accidentally released from a grower when the cultivated ponds flooded. It is available in the water garden trade, but it is prohibited in Florida.
It thrives in slow-moving aquatic systems, such as swamps, marshes, lakes, and ponds. It is unintentionally spread through human and animal activities. It has a high reproduction rate and can colonize a water body rapidly.
It clogs irrigation channels, alters water chemistry, and impairs flood control infrastructures. It decreases waterfront property values and causes problems for crawfish, catfish, and rice cultivation.
47. Australian Umbrella Tree
The Australian Umbrella Tree (Heptapleurum actinophyllum) is a large tree with shiny leaves, growing to twenty-five feet in height. It provides a tropical landscape for patios.
It grows rapidly and creates a dense windbreak and is often used as a screen for property lines. Originating from Queensland in Australia, it is not recommended in central and south Florida, where it is an invasive species.
48. Tropical Soda-Apple
The Tropical Soda-Apple (Solanum viarum) is a serious weed invader to perennial grass pastures and numerous native areas throughout Florida. It has foliage that is unpalatable to livestock and infests pastures, resulting in reduced forage production.
While found throughout Florida, the highest infestations are in South Florida. It can be found in pastures, ditch banks, sugarcane fields, citrus groves, and rangeland. It produces yellow fruit with more than four hundred seeds per fruit. The seed germination rate is seventy-five percent.
Goosefoot-plants (Syngonium podophyllum) have been introduced to south Florida. They have escaped cultivation and moved to natural and semi-disturbed areas, creating vast populations. They are invasive and cause serious problems for the environment.
It is considered a Category I invasive species by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council, as it displaces native plant communities and hybridizes with native plants. It forms a thick ground cover that is impenetrable by other plants. Its extensive root system makes it exceptionally difficult to get rid of.
50. Small-leaf Spiderwort
The Small-leaf Spiderwort (Tradescantia fluminensis) is native to South America and was introduced to Florida as an ornamental plant in the early 1900s. It is shade resistant and grows well in damp soil. Once it establishes itself, it is very difficult to control.
This perennial herb creeps and trials with erect branch tips. It forms a dense ground cover. It invades disturbed areas, riparian zones, hammocks, wetlands, natural forests, and urban areas.
51. Caesar Weed
The Caesar Weed (Urena lobata) is a shrub that can grow to ten feet in height. It has a single stalk with a free-branching stem and a bushy appearance. It grows in many areas of Florida.
It invades pastures, perennial crop plantations, disturbed areas, and eroded areas. It can grow quickly and can reach more than two meters within its first year. It was introduced as a fiber crop to Florida in the late 1800s.