Each year, invasive plants cost California $82 million dollars in damages to natural areas, agriculture, and gardens. Nearly 50% of the invasive species were introduced into California as ornamentals. For this reason, Sustainable Conservation is working with the CCUH to test a tool for screening the invasive potential of ornamental plants.
The Plant Risk Evaluation (PRE) tool was developed as an adaptation of a border screening tool, which determines invasiveness of plants. It consists of 19 predictive questions about a species or cultivar to be answered with a comprehensive literature review. Questions are designed to understand the following:
- History of invasiveness around the world
- The native and introduced range of the plant
- Plant behavior and demographics (growth, reproduction and dispersal)
- Ecological characteristics (pest and disease problems, aggressiveness)
PRE is 98% and 95% accurate in determining invasive and noninvasiveness plant behavior, respectively. Leading propagators and new plant developers are trialing the tool to determine where and how PRE provides value in the plant development process. Sustainable Conservation’s ultimate goal is to promote industry-wide adoption of the tool to assist breeders in developing improved plants with low invasive potential, thereby protecting growers’ investments.
Another PRE project is trialing an abbreviated version of the tool called the PRE-RS (Rapid Screening) to screen large inventories of plants. Over 3,000 plants common in the California ornamental trade will be screened.
For more information:
- University of Washington
- University of Washington Botanical Garden
- University of California, Davis
Funding provided by: