The plants found on this site are not native to the United States. The research on which this website is based was originally focused on documenting the exotic plant species of the Bush woodland of Millersville University of Pennsylvania. However, the exotic species found in the Bush also occur in and around woodlands throughout Pennsylvania, the East coast, and in some cases throughout the United States. These plants have been introduced from many places worldwide for purposes such as erosion control, providing habitat for wildlife, and gardening. Unfortunately, many of them have now become naturalized and invasive, thereby competing with our native species for habitat and other resources. These invasive species may have the upper hand from a lack of natural predators and controls. With this edge, invasive species can reduce biodiversity through their competitive displacement of native species. The majority of the species appearing on this site are found along the edge of woodlands, roads, and in other disturbed areas. However, some aggressive invasive species, such as garlic mustard and stinging nettle, have infiltrated forest interiors and are continuing to spread.
The Bush Forest of Millersville University
The Bush is a 20-acre stretch of riparian woodland located along the Conestoga River directly behind the dorms on the south side of Millersville University campus. The woodland once spread many more acres but has been reduced piece-by-piece by eminent domain, the addition of Crossgates Golf Course, and is still being threatened by a persistent lobby for expanding the road system into campus, deemed the "Relief Route". In the 1970s the Bush was much more open and part of a natural succession study by former Millersville Professor Dr. Catherine Keever. Now, trails snake through the young forest, providing access to the river, golf course, Creek Drive, and fire pit. Along with the trails, power lines and an old trolley bridge cut through these trees, letting light filter down to the woodland floor.
Not only is the Bush enjoyed today, but was for centuries. Currently, science classes take trips to the Bush to learn about the variety of flora and fauna that reside there, as well as the importance of a healthy riparian forest. Campus organizations such as environmental clubs and the Greek society frequent the forest for hikes and bonfire gatherings. In 1992, a 15th century Native American village was excavated where Crossgates Golf Course now sits. In 1995, another ancient Native American site was uncovered when an archaeologist surveyed the land where the "Relief Route" would have cut through the woods. With the proposed road, the fate of the Bush is still uncertain.
Various plant information and the natural history of the Bush sources used on this site:
Dunlap, H. 2003. A Field Guide to the "Bush" at Millersville University. Natural History Notes. In: Julie Ambler (Ed.): Biology 242, Ecology Laboratory, Millersville University. Fall: 67-78.
Rhoads, A.F., and T. Block. 2000. The Plants of Pennsylvania: An Illustrated Manual. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
USDA, NRCS. 2007. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.