Embrace Invasives

In by Dylan Woods

Day 21

Om Nom Nom

One of the best ways to combat invasive species—plants and animals alike—is to eat them!

Making a meal of invasive species is a great way to combat them. The lionfish, for example, is a venomous species native to the Indo-Pacific that was introduced to U.S. waters. Here, it has few natural predators and devours nearly everything in its path.

Recognizing the species as a threat to a healthy ecosystem, people began hunting and eating lionfish. Harvesting the fish has helped regulate its population, and similar methods are being deployed to control other invasive species, such as Asian carp, feral hogs and even some plants, like the Himalayan blackberry.

  • Check out eattheinvaders.org for a comprehensive look at invasive species—by way of land and sea—that you could (and should) be eating.
  • Foraging is a great way to get a taste of nature—literally. Along the way, you’ll likely come across some invasive plants to snack on. Check out “Wildman” Steve Brill’s guide to foraging to learn about edible plants in your region.
  • If you do take the foraging route, the Garden Answers app can help with plant identification. Similarly, the LeafSnap app uses visual recognition software to identify trees—all you have to do is snap a photo!
  • If you find yourself on the West Coast, Lucky Peach offers a quick guide to native and invasive plants to try.
  • Conservation Magazine dishes on invasive species and offers a few additional recipes.