How Did Japanese Knotweed Arrive In The United Kingdom?
Japanese Knotweed is an invasive plant that can detrimentally affect the value of the property as well as become a potential cause of conflict between neighbors It is a quick-growing plant that is known to spread out in large patches, pushing out other plant life in the vicinity. Fortunately, it is easy to identify Japanese Knotweed so that you can get a treatment plan into place early to get rid of this invading plant species before it can cause damage to your property and spread to adjacent properties.
Although there is plenty of information on how Japanese Knotweed spreads and how to get rid of it if you have inherited it from a previous owner, little is known about its history and how it got here in the first place. The interesting history of the Japanese Knotweed can help provide some insight as to why it tends to flourish in the UK environment and how to deal with invasive plants in general.
Where Does Japanese Knotweed Originate From?
As the name indicates, Japanese Knotweed originates from Japan but is also native to Korea and China. It is one of many plant species that can be found growing on the sides of volcanoes. In its natural habitat, Japanese Knotweed naturally reproduces through a prodigious underground rhizome system. In its native lands, the growth of the plant is kept under control by natural predators in the form of insects, fungi, other plant species, and environmental conditions that are much more hostile than that found in the United Kingdom.
The plant was first discovered in the 18th Century by the naturalist, Maarten Houttuyn who named it ‘Reynoutria japonica’, which is what it is still called today. Unfortunately, records of this discovery were lost until about 150 years later when it was rediscovered by other European botanists who started to explore regions of Japan. At that time, Philip von Siebold, a Bavarian botanist, and his partner Zuccarini gave their plant discovery the name Polygonum cuspidatum. At the turn of the 20th century, a Japanese botanist named Makino eventually discovered that both these plants were actually one and the same.
Who Brought Japanese Knotweed To The UK?
Unaware of the serious impact the plant was to have on the environment, Japanese Knotweed was brought to the UK in 1850 by Philip von Siebold. During the 18th Century, botany and plant cultivation were popular interests only among the upper classes. This enabled botanists like Siebold to receive funding for their research and send their discoveries back to the European continent where they could be cultivated in nurseries for sale around the world to botanical gardens or commercial nurseries. If you are local to Portsmouth or the surrounding area and are in need of knotweed services then see ‘Japanese Knotweed Removal Specialists Portsmouth‘.
Why Was Japanese Knotweed Imported From Japan to the UK?
Japanese Knotweed was mainly imported for its commercial value and for botanical cultivation. During his time in Japan Siebold was able to collect and record more than one thousand different plant species. He often chose to plant them in the back garden of his research base on Dejima which is an artificial island situated close to Nagasaki. Periodically he would pack a number of samples up and send them back home to the Netherlands. At Leiden, the plants would be carefully cultivated before being shipped to their destinations like botanical gardens in Britain and Belgium. Among these was an unmarked package that contained Japanese Knotweed, destined to arrive at Kew Gardens in London in 1850.