KEENE VALLEY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Invasive species don’t stop because the weather gets cold. This month, an invasive plant in the Adirondacks is being highlighted as a threat to vegetation. If you live in or visit the Adirondacks, you can do your part to stave off a bittersweet spread.
The plant in question is the invasive Asiatic bittersweet, a deciduous vine that has been found at locations around the Adirondacks by the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP). APIPP is warning to keep an eye out for signs of the vine this month. The plant can wrap around tree trunks, girdling them and killing everything above the girdle point. It also shades lower vegetation, depriving it of needed sunlight.
One issue in identifying invasive bittersweet is that it resembles another, much-less problematic form of the same plant. The difference between American and invasive varieties comes in the form of the berries. Native bittersweet berries grow in clusters at the ends of vines, while the invasive variant’s fruit comes in all along the stem. Spotters should look for dark brown, striated bark.
The advice on what to do if you find an invasive plant is the same no matter what kind: Report it. Invasive plant sightings can be reported to iMapInvasives NY online.
The plant isn’t the only invasive species in the public eye as the new year begins. This week, Warren County put out a warning regarding the emerald ash borer, an invasive insect that lays eggs in ash trees, leading to tree death within 3 years or less. Signs of the ash borer have been found in Lake George and Queensbury in 2023.