Native? Invasive? They’re just plants!

Although “just plants”, invasive species have the ability to completely change an ecosystem. As one of the foundational layers of what makes an area habitable, the types of plants present determine what other species can survive. Plants have evolved to coexist with other organisms in an ecosystem over thousands of years. If plants from similar climates are introduced that wildlife are not able to eat or otherwise utilize, they can grow without predators, outcompeting species native to the ecosystem.

In San Mateo County and other parts of the Bay Area, a lot of work has gone into conserving the endangered Mission blue butterfly. A big part of how we work to conserve the Mission blue is by planting Lupin, a native plant known to be utilized by the Mission blue for egg laying and nutrition.

During the rainy season, which is around the winter and early spring months, we have planted lupin and installed caging around the seeds to prevent birds from eating the seeds. The two main types of lupin we plant are lupinus albifrons and lupinus formosus. These species are known to be especially preferred by the butterflies.

In addition to planting native species, we remove species that are invasive to coastal grassland habitat, including french broom, Bermuda buttercup, cape ivy, and more.

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