The National Security Guard (NSG) decided to take on the vilayati kikar (Prosopis juliflora) populating its Aravali hills campus, after it was found to be responsible, among other reasons, for the depleting water table.
About Prosopis Juliflora
- It is a shrub or small tree in the family Fabaceae, a kind of mesquite.
- It is native to Mexico, South America and the Caribbean.
- It is one of the most invasive species in arid and semi-arid areas.
- It was brought to Delhi by the British in the 1920s, when the national capital was being built.
- In India it is known locally by many names such as Bellary jaali, seemai karuvelam, seemai jaali, gando baval, vilayati kikar.
- It has a very wide ecological adaptability which can grow on soils from sand dune to clay soil, and from saline to alkaline soil type.
- It can grow below 200 to above 1500 m above sea level, and with a mean annual rainfall ranging from 50 to 1500 mm
- It is considered an Invasive plant.
- It is characterized by vigorous growth which helps them to outcompete indigenous plant species.
Impacts on Environment
- This tree absorbs more than four litres of water to obtain one kilogram of biomass.
- It cannot even shelter birds as it produces less oxygen and more carbon dioxide.
- It can also turn the groundwater poisonous.
- It causes land erosion due to the loss of the grasslands that are habitats for native plants and animals.
Q1: What is an invasive plant?
It is a plant species that has been introduced to a new environment, typically by human activity, and has the ability to spread and establish itself aggressively in that new habitat. Invasive plants can have detrimental effects on the ecosystems they invade, often outcompeting native plants and disrupting the balance of native flora and fauna.