New threat: Japanese knotweed

New threat: Japanese knotweed Click to Enlarge Photo:

Jul 16, 2013 at 10:14 am

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) Another invasive plant is threatening to overwhelm native species is northern Minnesota, and it looks like bamboo.

It's called Japanese knotweed. The plant is a member of the buckwheat family, but its cane-like stems, which can reach 10 feet tall and higher, make it look and feel like real bamboo.

Japanese knotweed recently has been found growing in backyards and wooded parks in Duluth. It was imported to the U.S. from Asia in the 1800s as ornamental shrubbery, but has spread from Maine to Minnesota and as far south as Louisiana.

The Department Natural Resources calls it a "significant threat," especially near water such as streams, lakes and wetlands, where it can survive high water and floods and spread before native species recover.

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