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Invasive Species

March 27, 2012 - Karin Elton
This morning I edited a press release from the University of Minnesota Extension office about Invasive Species in Agricultural Landscapes.

I’m sure these are naughty bugs, but their names are beautiful: Wintering soybean aphid, Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. The Emerald Ash Borer destroys Ash trees and Thousand Cankers Disease affects Black Walnut trees but their names sound lovely.

What does “marmorated” mean anyway? A quick internet check gives the definition as “having a marbled or streaked appearance.”

These are bad, bad bugs and diseases, but to an English nerd’s ears their names sound poetic.

The press release talks about “two woody invasives, Buckthorn, a small tree which is host to the over wintering soybean aphid, and Oriental Bittersweet, an invasive vine.”

With names like Buckthorn and Oriental Bittersweet, can they be so bad? A glance at other invasive species names yields: Purple Loosestrife, Garlic Mustard, Japanese knotweed, Japanese Honeysuckle, Autumn olive, Eurasian Watermilfoil, Tree of Heaven and Canada Thistle.

An attempt at some kind of poem:

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug took The Emerald Ash Borer to the county fair,

Where they rode the rides and ate the aromatic fare.

The Buckthorn and Bittersweet took a seat on the Ferris Wheel of life.

The Woodland Adviser and Master Gardener came with their sprays and knives.

But ended up hosting a soiree on a Roller Coaster with their invasive foes.

Or something.


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