It has been said that loss of native biodiversity from the effects of invasive exotic species is second only to that caused by outright habitat destruction. In the world of plants, some of the worst offenders are exotic species that actively invade intact natural habitats and, by their aggressive tendencies, crowd out native species. Attack by lianas (woody climbing plants) such as Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) and Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) can include effects similar to strangulation, brought on by twining around their host plant’s stems. It is not always the host, however, for which the outcome is negative in these life-or-death struggles between native tree and exotic liana.

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Copyright © 2018 The Quarterly of the Virginia Native Plant Society. This article first appeared in Sempervirens Summer 2018: 8.

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