Botanically Correct


| November 20, 2002 Issue

Botanically Correct, Kim Todd, Grist Magazine
Using terms such as 'alien' and 'invasive exotics' to describe non-native plants distorts the debate that surrounds whether to protect native vs. foreign plants, writes Kim Todd in Grist Magazine. In San Francisco, the dialogue around preserving the native lessingia plant or embracing the Australian eucalyptus tree has struck a personal note with residents who resent the attempts to get rid of the foreign trees. As City Supervisor Leland Yee commented, "How many of us are 'invasive exotics' who have taken root in the San Francisco soil, have thrived and flourished here, and now contribute to the wonderful mix that constitutes present-day San Francisco?" But as Todd points out, humans are all the same species, whereas plants are not, and protecting native plants actually promotes diversity. Even if a single garden contains a large selection of plants from around the globe, diversity of plants worldwide is diminished when a native plant like the San Francisco lessingia is neglected.
--Erica Sagrans
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