The Ethics of Invasive Plants

Recently I’ve been deliberating over the ethics of plant selection for our future food forest. Currently around Brisbane I’ve come across quite a few fruiting Brazilian Cherries (Eugenia uniflora). Upon tasting them I find them quite delicious and have contemplated growing them in our food forest. However on researching the best way to grow them from foraged seed it came to my attention that it can be somewhat of an invasive pest as the birds are also a fan and thus disperse the seeds far and wide.

While I think it’s really important to establish our food security, I’m not sure we should do it at the cost of harming the native diversity.

There are a lot of elements to take into consideration when planting a non native plant. How does it spread? Is it likely to spread? Can you contain the plant and minimize it’s spread (via netting, maintaining trimming, keeping in a pot to stop root spread etc)? If you do contain it to minimize spread, what strategies do you have when you can no longer maintain the plant due to moving away or illness? Whats the likelihood it will get out of control in your area (with urban setting being more resilient than in a rural setting with more animals capable of spreading)? Is there something else you could substitute instead?

In my quest to try and answer these questions I have since decided that a Brazilian Cherry is not the fruit for us unless it’s kept in a pot, pruned low and kept netted during fruiting season.

I wanted to share I have also discovered a website I’ll be referring to whilst working out a few other plant substitutions in the future called ‘Grow Me Instead‘.

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