MAY 14, 2018 04:08 PM PDT

Nitrogen-Loving Plants Are Overpopulating Britain's Roadsides

As you drive down the road and gaze off to the side, you may see a variety of plants growing near the roadside. But new claims made by the British charity Plantlife underscores how plant diversity near Britain’s roadsides isn’t as pronounced as it once was.

Meadow flowers found near Britain's roadsides are becoming over-crowded by bully plants.

Image Credit: Pixabay

An array of factors, comprised of air pollution and inadequate roadside plant management, appear to be to blame for the unfortunate circumstances.

"Our once colorful and botanically diverse road verges are becoming mean, green thickets where only thuggish species can thrive," said Trevor Dines, a botanist with the charity Plantlife.

The primary issue is that many of Britain’s beautiful wildflowers are becoming overrun by nitrogen-loving plants, such as bramble, cow parsley, and stinging nettles, which become super-charged by the nitrogen deposits found in passerby car exhaust fumes.

To make matters worse, plant management organizations might be mowing curbside plants too frequently, which prevents ideal plants from growing to optimal sizes. Instead, the continuous nitrogen deposits after each mow give the less desirable plants the upper hand concerning growth.

"The impact of air pollution on human health is well documented but how pollution affects plant life remains under-appreciated," Dines continued.

"Poor management has combined with pollution to create a perfect storm. Councils have adopted an over-eager regime that sees flowers cut down before they can set seed and the mowings left on the verge simply add to the soil richness."

Related: How some plants communicate with one another via underground signals

The analysis reveals how both factors have a considerable impact on roadside plant life diversity, but there could be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Cars are becoming more environmentally-friendly as time goes on, so it could just be a matter of regulating mowing frequency more efficiently to give the underdog plants a better chance of thriving amid their hostile nitrogen-loving competitors.

It should be interesting to see how local authorities will act on the situation. The fate of Britain’s beautiful roadside meadows may hang in the balance.

Source: BBC

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUN 27, 2018
Earth & The Environment
JUN 27, 2018
Hawaii's post-eruption ecosystems
Hawaii was built by volcanoes, and the recent Kilauea eruption in Puna on the big island of Hawaii shows us in live-action what scientists already had clea...
JUL 11, 2018
Plants & Animals
JUL 11, 2018
Salamanders May Fare Better Against Climate Change Than Initially Believed
Many of the world’s animals display some type of response to the hazardous effects imposed by climate change. In most cases, the response isn’t...
JUL 16, 2018
Earth & The Environment
JUL 16, 2018
Do you know what your sunscreen is doing to coral reefs?
Hawaii Governor David Ige has signed into law a ban on the sale, offer, or distribution of any sunscreens containing oxybenzone or octinoxate. That means t...
JUL 23, 2018
Microbiology
JUL 23, 2018
Anglerfish Alert Researchers to a Third Type of Symbiosis
The light from inside the anglerfish bulb is made by bioluminescent bacteria, a symbiotic relationship we know little about....
JUL 25, 2018
Earth & The Environment
JUL 25, 2018
Does location sharing hurt or help endangered species?
Does sharing the locations of rare and endangered species help or harm those species? That’s the question that scientists from the University of Sydn...
AUG 06, 2018
Plants & Animals
AUG 06, 2018
These Are Some of the Most Venomous Animals on Earth
Venomous animal encounters can be frightening experiences, but some animals are more venomous than others. Some of the most fearsome animals in this depart...
Loading Comments...