• Outdoors Outdoors

Eerie photo reveals concerning reality of invasive species takeover: 'Those … used to be trees'

"It can grow a foot a day."

“It can grow a foot a day.”

Photo Credit: u/look-at-your-window / Reddit

A stunning and disturbing photo illustrating one of the main problems with invasive species turned up on Reddit, where it sparked a conversation about controlling these overabundant plants.

"This is kudzu," said the original poster, sharing a photo of what's also called Japanese arrowroot or Chinese arrowroot. They described the East and Southeast Asian plant as "a voracious weed that kills any other plant by suffocating it to death."

"Those giant lumps in the picture used to be trees," they added ominously.

The picture shows a leafy landscape all in a single shade of green. The ground, the woods in the background, and what may have once been a building or a rocky outcropping in the middle distance are all completely covered in a thick blanket of the flourishing green foliage. 

Even mature trees dozens of feet tall are wrapped in vines from root to canopy, with not a hint of their own leaves or branches visible. The only species you can actually see in the photo is kudzu.

While this ocean of kudzu is an extreme example, invasive species are invasive specifically because they often take over new environments. With plenty of food and without natural predators, they grow and reproduce out of control, outcompeting the native species in the area. This can completely destroy the balance of an ecosystem and even drive other species to extinction.

Kudzu is just particularly quick at it, which is why it's one of the most well-known invasives in the United States. 

"It can grow a foot a day," said one commenter.

Sadly, not everyone is on the same page about keeping kudzu out. Some people plant it on purpose, where it can quickly take over not only their own yards but also their neighbors'.

However, there are ways to turn the tides. One simple, all-natural solution is to bring in an animal that will eat anything green: a herd of goats. 

Goatscaping is growing in popularity because it's a win for everyone. The animals can clear an incredible amount of greenery in just a few hours with no effort from the property owner, and the goats get a meal out of the deal.

"That's actually the preferred control method in several southern states," said one commenter.

If all else fails, another commenter highlighted an even more direct approach. "Oh, AND you can eat it," they pointed out.

Join our free newsletter for cool news and cool tips that make it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider