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Solomon was famed for his wisdom, and he was also a great botanist! He had an awareness of the trees and plants
If we want to improve the biodiversity in our areas, and take part in eco-system restoration it is important that we understand the difference between aliens and indigenous species.
Alien weeds do not have natural predators to prevent the spread of the seeds and once they flower and go to seed, these are then spread either by wind or insects. They then germinate, producing plants that grow quickly and before long, you have a huge problem. They may have very pretty flowers, but they are very bad news for a thriving eco-system.
They spread rapidly at the expense of natural flora thus reducing species diversity. pH is altered and makes rehabilitation of areas difficult after the removal of alien plants.
They are often water guzzlers – for example in South Africa with wattle plantations – when wattle is removed you can find rivers flowing again. Alien trees burn at much higher temperatures because of natural oils, for example, pines and gums can erupt when they catch alight, and are prone to fireballs in high winds.
Many aliens don’t have a good root system so there is an increase in erosion.
Gardens planted with exotic plants can be resource-intensive and high maintenance, requiring frequent watering, weeding and fertilisation.
Indigenous plants are kinder to the earth and to you!
Indigenous plants are hardy, even in drought. Once established, indigenous plants can eventually maintain themselves in poor soils with less or little water. Ultimately, indigenous varieties are water saving – they have especially developed to cope with the dry local conditions.
The added benefit of indigenous plants is their wonderful perfume and they attract birds, and pollinators.
Some indigenous plants can be used for medicinal purposes. Tap into your local roots and learn which plants have medicinal properties and can be rubbed over your skin as a salve, brewed with your tea as a cold and flu remedy, or ground with other herbs as relief for all manner of ailments.