Invading alien rampant across 1/3 of mainland
By Ma Chenguang (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-10-27 05:50
Local governments and residents are going all out to eradicate Canada
Goldenrod an invasive alien plant that has taken root in almost one-third of the
nation's mainland regions.
Brought to the mainland in 1935, the plant, Latin name Solidago Canadensis,
has attractive bright yellow flowers. Once allowed to shed its seeds in an open
space, Canada Goldenrod spreads like wildfire.
Unfortunately for other species, its rampant growth is endangering grasses,
shrubs, trees and crops across about 10 regions, the State Forestry
Administration's Wang Xiaohua told China Daily yesterday.
The forestry administration suggested a nationwide drive to clear the plant
last March, but it is still thriving in foothills, meadows, roadsides and
woodland clearings in Shanghai and provinces of Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Shandong,
Jiangsu, Anhui, Jiangxi, Zhejiang and Yunnan, the Beijing Youth Daily reported
In Zhejiang Province, it is spreading towards the world-renowned West Lake in
the provincial capital Hangzhou.
In the report, plant expert Qian Jun is quoted as saying that grass areas
around the lake are in danger of being completely taken over by Goldenrod. A
single stalk of the plant can produce more than 20,000 seeds.
Local government staff and residents are being told to get rid of the plant
"from the root."
According to China Central Television (CCTV) reports, the plant which flowers
between late summer and autumn covers some 2,000 hectares in the city of Ningbo
alone. Orange harvests in the city's Chunwu Township have dipped as a result of
The best time to eliminate the plant is during flowering, said an
environmentalist surnamed Ye in Hangzhou, who suggested people cut the head of
the plant off before pulling it up by the roots, drying it in the sun and
burning it. An expert writing in Jiangsu's Zhangjiagang Daily recommended using
herbicides to kill young seedlings.
In Anhui, the plant has spread from 67 hectares last year to 335 hectares
this year, said He Jiaqing, a professor at Anhui University. An official
surnamed Huang from the province's agricultural commission said the focus now is
to prevent the alien invader spreading to farmland.
According to CCTV reports, more than 400 types of harmful alien plants are
causing annual losses of more than 57.4 billion yuan (US$7.1 billion) to the
country's agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and fishery industries.
Zhao Wenxia, an associate research fellow from the Beijing-based Chinese
Academy of Forestry, told China Daily that the country's research into alien
plants is at an early stage. It would be unscientific to rush to a quick
conclusion labelling an alien plant as "mere good or bad," Zhao said.
(China Daily 10/27/2005 page3)