The pink invasion

Carpobrotus on sandy dunes
Carpobrotus flowers
Carpobrotus with its carpet like covering appears in a lot of pictures taken in coastal areas

No, we aren’t going to write about “pinkification”, not even if we have an opinion and an experience about this, too. We want to discuss this terrible, invasive plant known as Hottentot fig (Carpobrotus spp.), that in these sunny days appears in a lot of pictures taken in coastal environments. The flowers are very bright, a really magnificent colour. If you crop the picture so that is a close up, and you have the clear blue sea water in the background, you surely have a great shot!

But we have to be aware that Carpobrotus is a South African species, introduced to the Mediterranean basin and it represents a threat to our environment, interfering with native species. It quickly covers huge areas with its long roots and being highly resistant to high temperatures, lack of water and trampling can dramatically alter the ecosystem where it arrives. Carpobrotus, with its carpet-like covering, suffocates other plants and can prevent them from sprout. Especially in the environment where endemic, rare species are present, the growing of Carpobrotus must be avoided.

Carpobrotus flower
The flower are really magnificent, with their colour
Carpobrotus covering rocky soils
This plant can quickly cover huge areas

Recently different conservation projects have been started, with the dim of containing or eradicating this species in our Mediterranean environment. They involve specialized staff and volunteers, helping to manually remove the plant from sandy dunes and coastal areas.

Specialized staff and volunteers are removing manually the plant from sandy dunes

This is a great effort in term of time and economic resources, deal with this alien invasive species. In fact the threat posed by invasive species is considered to be the second leading reason of biodiversity loss worldwide.

So, it is useful to avoid cultivating this species, replacing it with some native ones.

A flower of Silene, on a sandy beach
A pale pink flower of a native species

If you don’t want to give up, remember that you always have to grow it inside pots. Pay attention to branches and leaves because a little piece of a single leaf could turn into a new plant!

Little Carpobrotus plants
Every little plant should be removed to eradicate this alien species

Probably, avoiding to take pics with this flower can raise our awareness on this subject. And besides, how can we promote our territory by sharing pictures of alien species?

3 thoughts on “The pink invasion

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