Columbia, S.C. (WLTX) -- In the early 1920s an invasive grass native to southeastern Asia was introduced to the United States.
Now nearly 90 years later the weed has found a new home here in South Carolina, bringing with it concerns and potential problems.
"It is very much a concern, this is sort of just an example of the things that are likely to continue to happen," said Dr. John B. Nelson.
Dr. Nelson is the chief curator at the A. C. Moore Herbarium at the University of South Carolina, he says the facility holds about 123,000 specimens, some of which date back to the 1830s.
However oneof the newestadditions in the herbariumis a invasive grass called itchgrass, it was spotted in Moncks Corner in Berkeley County a few months ago and was later collected and documented by Dr. Nelson.
According to the USDA the plant has been confirmed in most states in the deep south and it is considered a serious problem where soybeans, cotton, corn, and peanuts are grown.
Dr. Nelson says it is still too early to worry about this plant for our state, but it should be monitored closely.
"It doesn't necessarily mean that it would end up being a very problematic species, but there is a potential for it too so we can't say just because it has shown up that it is going to take over the whole county," said Dr. Nelson.
He says the public should be on the lookout for unusual plants that maygrow in their yard and have them identified by an expert like himself.
Most importantly Nelson says travlers should be cautious when coming back from other areas.
"We are going to have invasive species at this point just because there are so many people doing so many things, going to so many places and then coming home and not always being careful about what they are bringing back with them," said Nelson.
The growing season for itchgrass is over for this year and according to Dr. Nelson, the next growing season should let us know if this was just an isolated location or if this is a widespread infestation.
For more information on A.C. Moore Herbarium at the University of South Carolina visit their website at http://herbarium.biol.sc.edu/.