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Invasive 'Incised Fumewort' Could Choke Out Native Plants Along The Bronx River

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A pretty little plant with no natural enemies is spreading south out of the northern suburbs toward New York City.

Naturalists are worried it could choke out native plants.

As invaders go the corydalis incisa is a benign looking plant with bright green leaves, purple pink flowers, migrating along the banks of the Bronx River.

"This is moving fast. It was first found in 2014, and now it's continuous from here to the Bronx," Professor Christina Andruk told CBS2's Lou Young.

In Eastchester, researchers from Iona College are trying to figure out a way to stop the spread of the corydalis incisa or incised fumewort.

It's an imported plant with no natural enemies or competitors.

The plant isn't unpleasant in its appearance, but experts said it can crowd out native vegetation.

"They look nice, but they're not doing anything for us, and they're not helping the area," Bianca Hudson said.

"It got here from Asia, it's a Japanese and Korean species. It probably was planted here because it has a beautiful flower, and once it got on the river it was able to spread rapidly," Professor Andruk said.

Friday's flooding may have moved seeds from Westchester County into the city.

Naturalists are doing their best to find the plants and physically remove them.

"We're documenting it on maps, as we do that we're trying to control, pulling it out of the ground. As we remove these invasives, we're top dressing with seeds of native plants," Travis Brady explained.

Residents have been asked to be on the lookout for the pretty little invader -- five years from now it will be too late to do anything about it.

The Bronx River Alliance is spearheading the effort, if the purple-pink flower shows up you can send them a report.

Experts say the fumewort could become the next dandelion if its spread isn't checked soon.



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