Plant ‘time bombs’ highlight how sneaky invasive species can be

A stealthy, destructive weed — the sycamore maple — began its “don’t worry, just love me” phase of invading Great Britain so long ago that the tree didn’t have what we’d call a scientific name.

The tree had arrived from Central Europe by 1613, and Carl Linnaeus, who set up modern Latin naming, wouldn’t be born for almost another century. Altogether, 320 years passed before biologists found the tree crowding out native plants, researchers report in the March Nature Ecology & Evolution.

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