Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tallow Grave

While the ISW has previously reported about Chinese tallow tree (Sapium sebiferum) here in the US, it was interesting to read that this species has also become a nuisance in India. The Telegraph is reporting that the tree, which was intentionally introduced to India as a source of vegetable oil, is spreading on its own into natural environments. Chinese tallow tree has allelopathic tendencies, releasing toxins into the soil that are likely to kill the surrounding plants wherever it sprouts up. Scientists in India are smart to note that this species, while not yet officially recognized as invasive in their country, has already become a problem in the southern USA, and thus has the potential to do the same in India.

Interested readers may also want to check out this similar story of a crop plant gone wild in Ghana.

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