Stunning vistas of water-loving purple flowers may be
steeping young American toads in poison.
Amphibian populations are in trouble all over the world,
and one element in their decline could be invasive plant
species such as purple loosestrife, a Cornell University
researcher, Bernd Blossey, told 300 participants at an
Ohio invasive plant conference.
Research on a number of invasive plants revealed harmful
effects on not only American toads but spotted salamanders,
red-backed salamanders and gray tree toads.
Loosestrife, native to Europe, is probably the most familiar
of these invading plants across much of North America.
It is high in tannin, a chemical that affects toads by
Phragmites, another invasive water plant common along
the Lake Erie shoreline, is poison to some salamander
species. And gray tree frogs are hurt by an invader known
as Japanese knotweed.