Invasive heritage: Risks and values in cultivation

Katarina Saltzman, Carina Sjöholm, Tina Westerlund

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

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Gardeners have always used plants of different origins, moving them around to new environments, working hard to make the plants survive and thrive under new conditions. Certain plant varieties have proved to be particularly vital, have a long history as cultivars, and are today understood as heritage plants. Many have spread over centuries and are today regarded as ‘belonging’ and as more or less ‘natural’ . In some cases plants have spread too much, and have become acknowledged as a risk, labeled ‘invasive’ – potentially threatening local biodiversity. Lists have been created, defining degrees of invasiveness; ”war’ has been declared towards the most persistent invaders, and gardeners and the circulation of garden plants on the market have been blamed for not taking adequate responsibility for the effects of unintentional spreading. This paper is based on an ongoing research project focusing on the intersection between gardens, markets and heritage in Sweden. We have interviewed gardeners and professionals, and conducted field observations and document studies. When examining how heritage values are identified within gardening and on related markets, we have found that the debates on invasiveness are increasingly significant on the agenda. Here, boundaries are constantly crossed and some garden plants are in fact regarded simultaneously as heritage plants and as invasive plants. In this paper we want to discuss how such plants balance between heritageness and invasiveness. In-between plant vitality as a positive value and as a problem, these plants demonstrate the difficulties to cultivate and at the same time protect ‘nature’.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventAssociation for Critical Heritage Studies - London, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 2020 Aug 262020 Aug 30


ConferenceAssociation for Critical Heritage Studies
Abbreviated titleACHS
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Horticulture
  • Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified

Free keywords

  • invasive heritage
  • risks and values
  • gardens
  • markets


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