October 26, 2009
In a bid to halt the spread of an invasive vine that can crowd out native plants and endanger the habitats of animals, Virginia agriculture officials are announcing a quarantine on beach vitex.
The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says the quarantine takes effect Monday. The goal is to block the movement of beach vitex into, within or from Accomack and Northampton counties and the cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
The quarantine restricts the movement of any life stage of the plant, including roots, stems and seeds.
Some people use the vine, which is native to the Pacific Rim, for decoration. It can choke native plants, though, and has ravaged sand dunes in North Carolina and South Carolina.