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Non-Native Plants

There are many non-native plant species on Gillies Hill. Some are beneficial but others threaten its future to the same
extent as the quarry. Of these, the rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum) is particularly destructive. Rhododendrons were
introduced into gardens during the 1800’s for their aesthetics (their pretty pink flowers and evergreen leaves), but they’ve
spread rapidly and now cover a large portion of the woodland. They form extensive dense thickets which starve the
ground of sunlight, as shown below. This has led to the loss of important ground flora and associated fauna, as well as
preventing the regeneration of trees. Their foliage is toxic to most of our animals, so there’s nothing in place to control their
spread. If left unmanaged, and given another few hundred years, the rhododendrons will be all that’s left of this ancient

Rhododendrons are a major problem all over the UK. For more information –
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