Baby's breath is one of the more recognizable invasive ornamental species as it is a common addition to floral bouquets. Despite its popularity, it can cause significant damage in certain natural areas - especially coastal dune systems like those found along Lake Michigan.
A biennial, baby's breath can be quite small in its first year. However, in year two, it grows into a large, mounded plant that can contain up to 14,000 seeds. Because of its size, rapid growth, and seed production, this invasive has the ability to completely take over a landscape and crowd out beneficial native species.
Additionally, baby's breath can grow a taproot reaching 12 feet long. This root stabilizes sand dunes, an ecosystem which is naturally intended to shift constantly. In fact, several endangered and threatened species rely on these changes including the pitcher's thistle plant and piping plover. Years-long management efforts have taken place in northwest Michigan to restore these dune ecosystems after baby's breath was introduced.
Photo credit: Emily Cook (all)
Learn More About Baby's Breath:
Baby's Breath Facts