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Miconia Beyond Eradication on the Big Island

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
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Experts are saying it’s too late to eradicate an invasive plant on the Big Island.

Native to South America, the Miconia was introduced in the late-1950s as an ornamental plant.

It soon spread throughout the island – long before the state had any measures in place to control invasive plants or animals.

The Miconia is dangerous to native forests because of its shallow root system and its large, dense leaves that can block out sun to other plants.

Springer Kaye is the Manager of the Big Island Invasive Species Committee.

She says its seeds also pose a problem in containment efforts.

Kaye says conservation groups will now shift their focus to keeping the Miconia out of conservation forests on the island and finding natural ways of keeping the plant at bay.

Although the Miconia is beyond control on the Big Island, experts agree it had a positive impact on preventing, containing and eradicating invasive plants and animals in the state.

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at charlow@hawaiipublicradio.org or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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