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Invasive Species in California Deserts

An invasive species is one which is not native to the local habitat and has a propensity to outcompete the native species.

When we’re talking specifically about plants, this is highly problematic because when our native plants die out our whole local ecosystem dies out — when Plant A disappears, the insects which evolved to only eat or lay eggs at Plant A dies out, then the creatures which eat those insects don’t have their food source, and on up the food chain the sad story goes.

Invasive plant species often escape their ornamental landscapes and take over in the wild. Some egregious examples all over California are Fountain Grass, Pampas Grass, and Pride of Madeira.

We have a host of invasive plant species in the Coachella Valley and Desert Horticultural Society wants to help with creating awareness around what these plants are. Our goal is to prevent consumers from buying them so nurseries stop selling them, as our government doesn’t strictly regulate the selling of invasive species.

Pennisetum Setaceum Fountain Grass

Fountain grass (Everywhere)

Fountain grass is especially invasive. It spreads easily via seeds blown in the air and grown anywhere with very little water.

Volutaria (Borrego Springs)

Discovered in Borrego Springs in 2011, it has spread across large portions of the town. It is a winter annual and produces small flowers in the spring at the same time as many of our beautiful wildflowers.

California Invasive Plant Council (Cal-IPC)

Learn more about California’s invasive species and get involved in the fight to protect our habitats from global invaders.