National Invasive Species Awareness Week — and how you can help

A new invasive plant species that appears to be poised to be a terrible invasive in moist, nutrient-rich situations across eastern North America has been documented in two counties in South Carolina: fig buttercup, also called lesser celandine (Ficaria verna, formerly Ranunculus ficaria).

Because of concern that this plant may be establishing footholds along waterways in other counties, the SC Native Plant Society is enlisting the efforts of people across the state to scout areas near them during March and April. A training video can be seen at

A workshop is also planned, to be held March 21 at Lake Conestee Nature Park in Greenville:

What is an invasive species? An invasive species is an introduced plant or animal with the ability to thrive and spread aggressively outside its native range, and which is believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy and/or human health.

In an effort to to raise awareness and identify solutions to invasive species issues, the week of February 22–28 has been designated as National Invasive Species Awareness Week.

Kudzu (Pueraria montana), “the plant that ate the South”, is an example that readily comes to mind. Introduced to the United States as an ornamental and heavily promoted for erosion control, it now covers about 8 million acres of land in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, and costs an estimated $500 million a year in the U.S. in control efforts and the damage it causes to forest productivity.

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Adelges tsugae) is an invasive insect introduced to the East Coast in the 1950s, Already it has killed huge numbers of hemlocks in the Southern Appalachians, and foresters as far north as Maine are now battling the destructive pest. The hemlock is a foundational species in the riparian and cove habitats of southern mountains, and the ecological ramifications of its loss impact such things as stream flow, water temperature, and the survival of eastern brook trout.

Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) is an invasive aquatic plant that was first found in Lake Marion in 1982 and now covers over 55,000 acres in the state. Indeed, Hydrilla has become a major obstacle to fishing, swimming, boating, hydroelectric generation, and irrigation in slow-moving waters from Connecticut to Texas.

A list of ways to observe National Invasive Species Awareness Week can be downloaded from the official website ( Their suggestions include “clean, drain and dry your boat trailer and gear every time you leave a body of water”, “learn to recognize common invaders and keep an eye out for signs of new ones”, “join an eradication effort”, “let your lawmakers know your opinions about the impact of invasive species on our natural heritage”, “replace your invasive landscape plants with native alternatives”, and “become a citizen scientist”.

Silent Auction donations needed for 2014 SCNPS Conference

Please help SCNPS by donating items for the SILENT AUCTION as part of the upcoming 2014 conference on the campus of The Historic Penn Conference Center Beaufort County (Dates: October 31-November 2, 2014). 

We are requesting that members consider donating and bringing items that can be sold in the silent auction at the conference in order to raise money towards conference expenses and to support activities of the Society; as well as for the fun of it!  If anyone has an item or can acquire a donated item, please contact me (Sudie) with the item details prior to the conference and plan to bring the item to the Penn Center for the auction (auction will be Saturday evening, but items can be on display starting Friday evening).  Please only bring items (or groups/baskets of items) with a value of over $25.  Item ideas include plants (as always!), artwork, books, gardening tools or materials, birding/hiking/outdoor adventure equipment or gadgets, gourmet/local/homemade food or drink (jams, relishes, honey, coffee, etc.), donated vacations/guided tours, hikes, paddle trips, etc., botany tools (plant press, hand lens?).  Items with values less than $25 can be grouped together for a higher value.

All I need ahead of time is the item name and/or short description, person donating, monetary value estimate, and then later for the item (s) to be brought to the conference.  Thanks!!!

Sudie Daves Thomas; Tel: 803-664-0806; [email protected]

Keep ’em Coming!

The unidentified plant images are coming in much more quickly because of the arrival of Spring!  I’ll try to keep up with identifying them all…

I hope you all will look at them and enjoy!

–Steve Hill

Plant identifications?


I just want to remind everyone that I am still available to attempt to identify any plants you may have from a digital image, here on this site. It has been slow this last year!  If you do not wish to put the image on our site, you can still send it to me privately at [email protected], and let me know if you want the answer to be private or not [you can also indicate that if you want to send it to the site].  I used to do all of them by email, and this current site was just a faster way to do it at times  – but I like to try to identify plants of most kinds on or off the site [not mushrooms, mosses, algae or other non-vascular plants, however] and you are welcome to send images to me.

I enjoy a challenge.

–Steve Hill [Ph.D Botanist]  SCNPS


Volunteers Needed: Sea Oat Rescue!

We will be removing approximately 1,000 plants from the footprint of the new nature trail on Sullivan’s Island and transplanting them to the newly re-engineered Folly Beach County Park.  We will begin at 9 am at Station 16 beach path on Sullivan’s Island and the first plants should arrive at Folly around 11am.  Bring shovels to both sites and pruners/scissors to Sullivan’s.  Come to either or both sites and take part in this great opportunity to help the SC Native Plant Society and our County Parks!


Southcoast/Naturescapes Native Plant Sale and Open House

Please join the Southcoast Chapter at our Fall Native Plant Sale and open house which will be held at Naturescapes of Beaufort on October 5th. A percentage of proceeds from the sale will benefit chapter projects. For information and directions please email [email protected] or call (843) 525-9454

2013 Annual Meeting

The  2013 annual meeting will be held at Saluda Shoals Park in Columbia, SC on November 16th. Rudy Mancke will be the featured speaker.  A field trip led by Rudy will follow lunch.

SC Exotic Pest Plant Council Annual Conference on Sept 12th, please come! Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill

The SC Exotic Pest Plant Council Annual Conference is rapidly approaching (Sept 12th). Tomorrow is the last day for EARLY REGISTRATION, so act now! There will be some great speakers as well as  Continuing Education Units Offered (CEUs): Continuing Forestry Credit, SC Pesticide License Re-certification Credit,Certified Arborist, Master Gardener, Master Naturalist.

The conference will be held at the beautiful Anne Springs Gateway in Fort Mill, SC, see the agenda below.  You can register online at Http://  Please bring your personal refillable water bottle and coffee mug to help reduce waste. We’ll see you there! 

Thursday, September 12, 2013
Anne Springs Close Greenway
841 Springfield Pkwy, Fort Mill, SC 29715
From 9 am to 330 pm


Registration Fee: $40 per person (includes lunch and all confer-ence activities). Deadline to register is September 4, 2013. Regis-tration received after Sept. 4, 2013 is $50.

9:00 – 9:30 Registration and Refreshments
9:30 – 9:45 Welcome and Opening Remarks

Ben Powell, SC-EPPC President
Current and Emerging Threats

9:45 – 10:15 Battling the Green Menace: An Attempt at Kudzu Removal and Replacement
Dr. Wade Worthen, Furman University

10:15 – 10:45 Restoring Giant Cane
Carrie Miller, USDA Forest Service
10:45 – 11:00 BREAK

10:30 – 11:00 Scrub Oak Removal and Native Vegetation Restoration in Hitchcock Woods, Aiken Co.
Gary Burger, SC Dept. of Natural Resources

11:30 – 12:00 Monitoring Wildlife Use of Invasive Plant Restoration Sites
Dan Hill, Kalmia Gardens at Coker College
12:00 – 1:00 Lunch

1:00- 1:45 EPPC business meeting, open forum, and field trip logistics

1:45 – 3:30 The Anne Springs Close Greenway Field Trip
Bill Steele, Leroy Springs & Co. Inc.
(Field trip will visit a restored Piedmont Prairie and sites in various stages of management for Kudzu, Privet, Silverthorn, Bush Honeysuckle, Chinaberry, Stilt Grass and several others)



INVASIVE ALERT: Fig Buttercup documented in SC

jkm130409_105bFig Buttercup has recently been found in Greenville County. Never heard of it? Try Lesser Celandine. It may be in the gardening catalog on your kitchen table, promoted as an easy-to-grow alternative to the rare native Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris).

This is SC’s first documented sighting of Ficaria verna growing outside of cultivation. It is a vigorous plant that emerges in early Spring before most natives, forming a green blanket which, once established, native plants cannot penetrate. Toothworts, Dutchman’s Breeches, Trout Lily, Trillium and Bloodroot are some of the natives most at risk.

jkm130415_342jkm130415_350It produces numerous tubers and bulblets, each of which can grow into a new plant when separated from the parent by animals or well-meaning weed-pullers, or carried downstream. Its bright buttery yellow flowers were in full bloom here in early April — an infestation looking like a green carpet with yellow dots, growing in low open woods, floodplains, meadows and waste places. After flowering, its above-ground parts die back and are mostly gone by June; it survives the winter as thickened fingerlike underground stems.

jkm130409_113bThis is a very serious and challenging pest, and it is important that we do everything we can to prevent its establishing a beachhead. Its short life cycle offers very little time to attempt control.

jkm130409_186bChemical pesticides can be effective, but are best used early before natives and amphibians have emerged. Small infestations can be tackled by hand digging with a small trowel, but soil disturbance can encourage further infestation. If digging is attempted, care must be taken to bag every scrap of plant, and make sure they are completely dead before delivering to a landfill.

SCNPS_Ficaria_FactSheet_colorLearn more at our March 18th meeting,
Under the radar: Fig Buttercup
download a fact sheet,
or visit these sites: , ,

To see the Greenville County infestation, which spreads along 1.5 miles of Reedy River floodplain, download Conestee~Ficaria.pdf


green_500x6To learn more, please watch the video at


C.Ritchie Bell

Very sad – we have lost C.Ritchie Bell:


–Steve Hill