Mackenzie Bell, a graduate student at the University of Florida Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants, hoped to find a salty solution to control Brazilian pepper, (Schinus terebinthifolia), a pervasive and pernicious exotic pest plant that infests hundreds of thousands of acres in Florida. What did she discover in the laboratory?
That Brazilian pepper is about as tolerant of salinity as red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle), so no “salty solution” was to be found, sorry to say. The Brazilian pepper trees increased their stem mass and leaf area in response to increased salinity, which explains the girth and vigor of the Brazilian pepper trees that are located near the mangrove forests at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area (ORCA). Sigh!
Click here to read about her research in the Florida LakeWatch newsletter.