Would the Blue Bonnet be an adversely affected plant by an invasive species?

1 Answer
Jul 29, 2016

Yes. In fact, it's already being attacked by invasive species.


According to Texas Monthly, a flowering plant called Bastard Cabbage, native to Eurasia, is threatening to choke out the Blue Bonnets. This waist-high weed robs plants, like sunflowers, of sunlight and soil from the nutrients.

Elephant ear, another invasive species, is spreading like wildfire in the swamps of Louisiana. This has caused a decline in native species, as well as a disruption of stability in the ecosystem.

If nothing is done about this, then yes, the Blue Bonnet will be adversely affected. Luckily, people are working to protect the Blue Bonnet.

An LSU biology class led by Barry Aronhime has worked in the Louisiana swamps attacked by elephant ear since 2010, observing and recording the state of Blue Bonnet plants, as well as proposing treatments and recording how other treatments have been. This project helps the community and the ecosystem, as well as giving students hands-on work with the ideas they learn in class, which is much more effective than lectures and homework.

Another method of protecting the Blue Bonnet has garnered some press over the years: eating the invasive plants causing the problems. This may sound weird and downright deadly, but it can actually be really delicious. After all, humans are the apex predators of an ecosystem, so why not put that position to good use? For example, Bastard Cabbage can be turned into a delectable sautee by plucking the young leaves and putting a bit of garlic, sea salt, and lemon on them. Just don't pick the old leaves; they're more bitter and won't taste really good.