ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF INVASIVE PLANT SPECIES
Time to time, many plant species has been introduced to Sri Lanka eitherintentionally or accidentally. Their existence, dispersion and naturalizationpersisted unnoticed. However, with the present interest on biodiversity it wasrealized that some of these species are posing a threat to the existence of manyother native species. In recent studies, about 20 of such species have beenidentified as invasive in nature and many concerns has been directed on them.Presently, some of these species are economically important and widely used.
For example, Tithonia diversifolia (wild sunflower) Panicum maximum (guineagrass), Pennisetum clandestinum (kikin grass) Prosopis juliflora, Lantanacamara, Eichchornia crassipes (water hyacinth) and Myroxylon balsamum(Kattakumanchal) provide multiple uses such as cattle feed, fodder, green manure,biopesticides and phyto extractants
Similarly Mimosa pigra and Parthenium may have economical values not yetinvestigated and exploited. Therefore, the most appropriate and intelligent way ofhandling these so called invasive species is to identify and exploit their fulleconomic potential and to investigate as to why they have reached the invasivestatus. However, further investigations would be necessary in any attempt tocommerciable such products.