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Expert shares why common 'trouble' plant should be immediately removed from yards: 'If you see it … trash it'

"It's taken over huge areas of our woods."

"It's taken over huge areas of our woods."

Photo Credit: TikTok

A video from the Cincinnati Nature Center (@cincynature) pointed out the dangers of a seemingly innocent plant, the yellow-flowered lesser celandine.

"This green carpet with bright yellow flowers might look pretty, but it's a highly invasive plant," the presenter explains. "The thick green leaves come out early and choke out all the native wildflowers."

@cincynature Lesser celandine may look pretty, but this plant is trouble. #invasivespecies #ohio #nature #ecology #lessercelandine ♬ Funny Song - Funny Song Studio & Sounds Reel

Lesser celandine is native to Europe, Asia, and northern Africa, but it made its way to North America, most likely as an ornamental plant. "The earliest herbarium specimen dates to 1867 from Pennsylvania," reports the New York Invasive Species website. Now, it's found all over the country, from New England to the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest.

Unsurprisingly, other TikTokers had also encountered the same plant. "It's taken over huge areas of our woods," one person commented, "[and] probably taken over an acre of my property and 2-3 acres of my neighbors'."

Invasive plants like lesser celandine pose a huge problem for native plants and local ecosystems, throttling biodiversity and harming nature and even our human economy (to the tune of billions of dollars). 

By robbing the local flora of their resources — such as water and sunlight — invasive plants can often become a death sentence for native plants in the area. And the troubles don't stop there. Once those native plants are gone, the local pollinators struggle to find enough food sources. 

Without pollinators, the entire ecosystem is thrown off balance, and flowering plants struggle to survive and reproduce. This is especially troubling, as roughly 30% of our food comes from these flowering plants. 

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent the spread of plants like lesser celandine — especially if you can catch them early

"It spreads via these little potato things called corms," the video presenter explains. "They get stuck in your shoes and hooves and move everywhere. If you see it in your yard, dig it up, seal it, and trash it."

Moral of the story: don't be fooled by those pretty flowers. As the caption reads, "This plant is trouble."

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