Invasive plant species all over the internet

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) have discovered that the sale of invasive plant species over the internet is much more widespread than previously thought. After monitoring the trade of plants across ten online platforms, including eBay, for a period of 50 days, the researchers identified 2,625 species for sale. Of those, 510 of were known to be invasive, and no fewer than 35 were on the IUCN’s list of 100 of the world’s worst invasive species. Invasive species were listed by sellers in 55 different countries. “We didn’t expect the global trade in plants that are known to be invasive to be so extensive,” said Franziska Humair, the study’s first author, in a statement. Examples of invasive plants in Switzerland include goldenrod, Himalayan balsam, and Chinese windmill palm. Most have been introduced from other countries for use in gardens and landscaping, but have since spread into wild habitats, where they compete with native …

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