When the Europeans first colonized New England they initiated the process of transforming the landscape into something more familiar. In order to ensure access to food and medicine and recreate the pastoral landscape of the Old World they brought with them a variety of known plant species for cultivation. With time, shifts in medical practice, agriculture, food preservation, and dietary preferences, reliance on these plants declined. As knowledge of these plant species disappeared from popular consciousness, so too did they disappear into the wilds of America, exploiting new found ecological niches, and becoming New England’s naturalized flora. Human labor was essential in creating and sustaining the habitats in which these new species could thrive, but plant invasions are as much a product of nature as they are of culture. Jessamy Luthin completed a BA in History with a minor in Sustainable Agriculture from the University of Maine in 2013. She is now pursuing a certificate in midwifery at Birthwise Midwifery School in Bridgton, Maine.
Luthin, Jessamy R.. "From Wanted to Weeds: A Natural History of Some Of New England’s Introduced Plants." Maine History 49, 2 (2015): 132-149. https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/mainehistoryjournal/vol49/iss2/2