Follow TV Tropes


Misplaced Vegetation

Go To
♪ Sooooo why is there a conifer under the sea? ♫

"They shouldn't even be growing in the same hemisphere!"
Prof. Summerlee, The Lost World

Lots of writers put animals where they don't belong. But to most people who aren't botanists, most plants look pretty similar. So you're safe sticking any old plant anywhere... right? Uh, well, wrong. Sometimes writers, artists, or programmers will stick a very specific plant into a scene, and it'll be completely misplaced.

There is some overlay here with Television Geography in live action.

This can be easily justified since many travelers have introduced plants from elsewhere if the new area's climate can accommodate them. For example, relatively few palm trees grow native in the US, and cacti grow only in the Americas unless taken abroad. Also, if a work of fiction is set somewhere that's like somewhere in the ancient or medieval world but isn't specifically there, they have an out for including things like potatoes or any other real-life plant: it's not set in the real world. Plant misplacement is especially present in works taking place in rainforests since it's hard to search for the tree species growing in these locations even with the help of the Internet. Not only there are a lot of different tree species unknown to the public, but different rainforests have different trees.

This can come up frequently in Fantasy works set in pseudo-Medieval Europe: it's actually anachronistic for them to have New World crops like tobacco, potatoes, tomatoes, maize-corn, etc. Different Fantasy series handle this different ways, with some just embracing the anachronism.

Sub-Trope of Artistic License – Botany. Super-Trope to All Deserts Have Cacti. May occasionally be the result of Hollywood Provincialism, though filmmakers are careful not to show palm trees growing in places too temperate for them. Viewers aren't that moronic.


    open/close all folders 

  • In an Ocean Spray commercial, they claimed to be on a blueberry farm in Maine, but were standing in front of high-bush blueberries with no other trees visible. This is much more common in the south; Maine blueberry farms are mostly filled with the low-bush variety, which tend to grow in rocky terrain, and are frequently surrounded by pine forests.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Major: Season 4 features the main character Goro Shigeno playing for a minor league team in Memphis, TN where the stadium is surrounded by a cityscape featuring palm trees planted LA style along the streets. Memphis is a very forested city, but palm trees don't grow well there.
  • Naruto: While Sasuke and Naruto are unconscious and Sakura is protecting them, the three Sound Ninjas try to kill them all. Dozo is clued into the fact that Sakura has laid traps by the fact that the dirt is a different color and that the type of grass she used to cover the dirt doesn't grow in the forest they're in.

  • Sistine Chapel: One thing Egypt isn't known for is its lush, grass-flooded forests dominating its landscapes, yet four of the six episodes of the Moses narrative are set in this unreal hyper-vegetated Egypt rather than any type of desert or city.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix: Roman legionaries are seen Peeling Potatoes as part of their chores, some 1700 years before their discovery by the western world. Justified by Rule of Funny, as Anachronism Stew is nearly the entire point.
  • Robin (1993): Tim Drake clues into the fact that the woods Stephen has led him into are mystical in nature when he realizes there are plants there that should not be growing in an Appalachian forest.
  • Tintin: Tintin in the Congo had rubber trees, native to South America, growing wild in Africa. Possiblty justified if they're not truly wild, but simply feral, since there are commercial rubber plantations in Africa.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): The under-ocean cities Venturia and Aurania have ferns and flowers growing in them.

    Comic Strips 
  • Crock follows a French Foreign Legion unit in North Africa. It routinely features cacti, which only occur naturally in New World deserts (except for the mistletoe cactus, which looks nothing like the stereotypical cactus). May be a case of Reality Is Unrealistic, since several species of cactus from the new world have become naturalized through the Mediterranean basin, with most having been imported more than 100 years ago for use either as crops or ornamentals.
  • In one Moomin story, the Moomins find a crate full of tropical seeds and plant them. Although Moominvalley is supposedly located somewhere in Nordic Europe, the plants manage to grow and thrive, thanks to a freak heatwave and rainstorm creating tropic-like weather conditions. That said, once the weather returns to normal, the plants aren't able to withstand the cold and quickly wither away.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • The Emperor's New Groove features venus flytraps that are apparently growing on vines... in the middle of the vaguely South American jungle. Real life venus flytraps are found only in a vanishingly small range in coastal North Carolina. They are horrifyingly endangered in the wild. (The More You Know...). And Venus Flytraps don't "snap" shut; it usually takes at least second or two for the trap to mostly close, and several minutes to seal up completely. It also doesn't go "snap" — it's silent. The "teeth" are stiff bits of leaf, so no they can't bite your finger, nor can anything larger than a largish housefly get stuck in the trap. (Take two leaves, hold them together around your finger. Try to get loose. There ya go.) And despite what you see in movies, the biggest trap is less than two inches across.
  • An earlier animated work called Goliath II featured acacia trees growing in India.
  • Disney's The Jungle Book (1967): if you look very closely during the Elephant Patrol's first appearance in the film, you can actually see acacia trees in the background. Acacias grow in very dry deserts and scrubland, not jungles. In the same movie, Baloo explains to Mowgli in a song how to pick the fruit of the prickly pear... which is a species of cactus from the arid zones of America (though it's known to become an invasive species elsewhere, especially in Australia). The lyrics also briefly reference the pawpaw, a fruit tree that's also unique to the New World.
  • The Lion King II: Simba's Pride: When singing Upendi, Rafiki describes it as a place "where the passionfruit grows sweet"... except it doesn't. Passionfruit are a species of fruit native to South America.
  • The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea features a massive tropical coral reef beneath friggin polar ice sheet.note  Actual polar marine ecosystems can sometimes appear quite lush, but definitely not tropical coral reefs with colorful fish. That's a pinch from the movie's big geography mess-up. Wait... complete with ice-hating giant clams.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem takes place in Gunnison, Colorado, which makes the lush, wet deciduous forest depicted surrounding the town seem rather strange to anyone who has seen the sparse pine forest that actually grows there.
  • Austin Powers lampshades this in The Spy Who Shagged Me. While supposedly driving along an English country road which looks remarkably like one in California, he remarks to camera: "You know what's remarkable? Is how much England looks in no way like Southern California."
  • Ben and Arthur has a shot of the palm trees at the "Vermont" airport. There are also abundant subtropical flora in the garden where Ben and Arthur have their "New England" wedding.
  • Flavia the Heretic takes place in Italy circa 1400. At one moment Flavia and Abraham are on the beach eating roasted ears of corn.
  • In Jurassic Park, Casuarina trees (found only in southeast Asia, Australia and India) coexist with Coast Redwood trees (found only in certain parts of California) on the same Costa Rican island. Yet Hammond goes on and on with how he spared no expense for authenticity.
  • How coconuts exist in Arthurian Britain is a constant Running Gag in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

  • In-universe example in Tamora Pierce's Daja's Book — the characters need an illusion to cover up a magical artifact they've accidentally created in the middle of nowhere, so Niko makes a tree. Plant-mage Briar comments that it's a nice illusion, but that you'd never find a cork oak this far north. So Niko changes it to a pine.
  • Lampshaded in-universe in Dream Park, when S.J. remarks that the vegetation in Gaming Area A is from South America rather than New Guinea. Justified in-novel (though not in-Game) by the fact that the jungle setting had been constructed by the Army for a war-game scenario simulating an attack on Brazil, and was being reused for the South Seas Treasure Game.
  • In the climax of Duma Key, which takes place on an island off the west coast of Florida, the main characters have to go through a jungle containing plants that should not be there without human interference, like Australian or Brazilian trees. Justified, because the jungle was raised through supernatural means by the Big Bad as protection.
  • Hawksmaid, a YA novel about the teenage Maid Marian and Robin Hood, contains multiple references to potatoes; a vegetable completely unknown in 12th century England.
  • Justified and lampshaded in Jurassic Park, where the incongruous flora is mentioned as being potentially damaging to the megafauna, but was added to the park anyway because it's pretty. There are other examples pointed out by Ellie Sattler, who first identifies an extinct plant by the leaves shortly after arriving on the island. She then points out, as one of the signs that the whole endeavor is negligent and careless, that some of the decorative plants in the visitor's center are toxic to humans. She then diagnoses the digestive problems of a stegosaurus by noting that there are toxic berries growing in the same place it would scoop up gizzard stones.note 
  • The Lord of the Rings: J.R.R. Tolkien stated that Middle-earth is supposed to actually be our real world, thousands of years ago in some lost historical era (as opposed to a pure fantasy construction), and the parts we actually see more or less turned into Europe many eons later. Tolkien was also painfully aware, however, that it would be anachronistic for New World crops to exist in a pseudo-medieval setting like this (particularly one actually meant to be in the real past). This infamously led Tolkien to come up with an elaborate explanation for how the Hobbits can still smoke tobacco: the Numenorean explorers brought it to Middle-earth from some other continent (i.e. the ancient analogue of the Americas or something). Potatoes also exist in Middle-earth, and presumably were brought to it in the same fashion.
    • As an expert linguist, Tolkien also thought it was anachronistic to have characters use the real-life words for these plants, which are of Native American origin (someone in the distant past of Europe wouldn't call it "tobacco"). This is why he came up with calling it "pipe-weed". He also has characters refer to "taters" most often (except for the one memorable scene when Samwise spells out that by "taters" he means "po-tay-toes"). Tolkien went so far as to even remove references to "tomatoes" from later editions of The Hobbit after the first publication edition.
    • There are some references to "corn" in Tolkien's works, but he's using it in the British English sense of "grain" in general or "the most common grain grown in an area", not referring to "maize-corn" like the Maya would eat in the Americas.
  • The Science of Discworld II: The Globe plays with potatoes. Rincewind is horrified that Elizabethan England doesn't have the humble spud.
  • Spice and Wolf has a scene early on where Laurence and Holo eat baked potatoes centuries before the plant is introduced to Europe.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire is a bit of a different situation from Tolkien, in that the author stated it is not supposed to be our real-life world in the distant past or future, just an alternate Fantasy world - albeit one loosely inspired by the real Middle Ages. Westeros is essentially a continent-sized version of the British Isles (roughly the size of South America), Essos is pseudo-Eurasia, Sothoryos is pseudo-Africa, etc. Generally, New World Crops have never been mentioned: tobacco, potatoes, tomatoes, maize-corn, rubber. There are one or two mentions of "pumpkins" or "turkeys" in the entire, Door Stopper length novel series, but these might just be random errors. Instead of tobacco, they have a loose analogue called "sourleaf", though it's not smoked, only chewed (much like chewing tobacco). Some readers might be confused that Martin uses the term "corn", though apparently much like Tolkien he's just using it in the general sense of "grain".
    • ...While rarely and inconsistently mentioned, there are undeniable examples of New World Crops in Westeros. In the second novel there's a scene in which Arya is in the riverlands and clearly eating roasted maize-corn on the cob, in its own ears. Repeated mention is also made of Dornish hot peppers - and if you thought they might just be pepper spices, reference is made to them being stuffed, so they're clearly bell peppers, a New World Crop.
  • The island where The Swiss Family Robinson find themselves hosts an astonishing and unlikely variety of flora and fauna. There's crabs, penguins, several types of monkeys from Old and New World, sago palms, coconut palms, elephants (tracks and damaged structures), at least one python, wild turkeys, cassava root, onagers, ostriches, falcons, and sugarcane. It gets really ridiculous at the creature whose description closely matches that of a kangaroo.
  • Toldi, a heroic poem that served as the artistic debut of Hungarian poet János Arany, comes close to making this mistake, when the titular outcast nobleman is reunited with his loyal servant. The servant mentions maize in an offhand sentence. The plot takes place centuries before the discovery of America so there was no way he would know what maize is.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Chosen was largely filmed in the western United States, which goes a long way to explain why there are persimmon trees growing in Roman Judaea.
  • In one episode of CSI, the murder victim was found on a golf course. One clue to just where on the course the murder took place was a specific variety of bentgrass on the golf cart. Some bentgrasses are grown specifically for golf course use (they apparently make nice greens). The one they found is a noxious weed, and if it was growing anywhere on a tournament-class golf course the entire landscaping crew would have been fired.
  • Lampshaded in an Ellery Queen episode where a cartoon magnate chews out his backgrounds man for drawing palm trees in Wisconsin. He was apparently supposed to draw elm trees.
  • Subverted in Farscape where the presence of Strelitzia a.k.a. "Bird of Paradise" flowers which at first appears to be an example of this trope is actually a major plot point.
  • In any given episode of Friends, look closely at "Central Park" and you'll see a great example of California Doubling: since when do Eucalyptus and Cycad trees survive in New York?
  • Good Eats plays this for comedy. The episode "Down and Out in Paradise" is framed as Alton Brown being stranded on a desert island in order to show of tropical foods. Throughout the episode the various fruits, such as pineapples, mangos, and coconuts he finds confuses him as to where exactly he is, since none of those are naturally found in the same location. Turns out he was in Hawaii and just couldn't see the city across the bay from him due to losing his glasses.
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys had lots of ancient Greek villages with tomato-filled carts and corn cobs drying outside.
  • Lost is famous for it. One example, in several episodes of the second season we see aloe vera barbardensis... in the jungle. Also, you can see their plastic pots sometimes. This can easily be handwaved, since the island apparently has the ability to move.
  • The 2001 miniseries of The Lost World has Prof. Summerlee lampshading the strange combination of flora he finds on the eponymous South American plateau.
  • Merlin may be a Fantasy show, but it's at least nominally set in pre-Age of Discovery England - which makes the peasants harvesting corn and potatoes very funny.
  • Rizzoli & Isles regularly shows palm trees lining the streets of Boston, which is way too far north to support them outside of carefully monitored indoor habitats.
  • It's occasionally claimed that the trees visible in establishing shots on Seinfeld couldn't possibly grow in a New York climate — however, those shots are all taken in New York!
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Daniel comes into contact with his wife and finds out where her child is, the planet he and his wife meet on is entirely covered in blooming Scotch Broom, which is quite invasive in the Pacific Northwest.
    • Scenes that take place in the woods immediately outside Cheyenne Mountain usually depict a lush forest with lots of ferns, which certainly would not be found in comparatively arid Colorado Springs.
  • Star Trek has been known to feature American vegetation on planets, even the ones where no man has gone before. Since they also have Human Aliens, Klingon coffee, and Romans speaking modern American English, that's hardly inconsistent. They wave "parallel evolution" around a lot on Star Trek. For a specific example of getting real-world vegetation wrong in Star Trek that doesn't have the "another planet" excuse, in the first episode of Enterpise, the Klingon ship crashes in Broken Bow, Oklahoma in the middle of a flat corn field. Broken Bow is far from flat, and in a coniferous forest to boot. You'd have to go to central and western Oklahoma to have any big giant corn fields like the one shown in this episode. Also doubles as Artistic License – Geography due to the lack of the ubiquitous Ouachita Mountains that surround the area. Now, it wouldn't be bad if it had been set in Broken Arrow, which still has rolling hills, but has lots of flat areas to grow corn in, but they apparently didn't think of that.
    • In one episode of Deep Space Nine, Dr. Bashir lampshades it outright, by wondering why there's so much chlorophyll in the cells of plants on a planet orbiting a red giant.
  • St. Louis, Missouri is not nearly as riddled with evergreen trees and Lawrence, Kansas is not as leafy as Supernatural would have you believe, and most of the trees that are there are deciduous.
    • The area "just outside of Grand Junction" happens to be a desert, which makes all the leafy greens outside the car when one of the characters states their location seem a little odd to Colorado natives.
      • It's possible they're lost ontop of Grand the spring. Even that is a stretch.
      • And Longmont, Colorado is not the idyllic mountain town with thick green foliage shown in the show. It's a suburb of Denver.
    • Demian, in his Television Without Pity recaps, often makes mention of Bobby's house set in the lush coastal rainforests of central South Dakota.
  • Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp mostly averts this, being filmed on-location at an actual East Coast summer camp. However, in a cameo in the last episode featuring Prof. Neumann hanging out in his cabin in rural Maine, he's seen on a deck underneath swaying Eucalyptus branches. The Eucalpytus is a tree native to Australia and common in California, but incapable of surviving Maine's wet climate and cold winters.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess eating a tomato. In ancient Greece.
  • The X-Files:
    • The series was filmed predominantly in British Columbia for its first few seasons before moving to California. Consequently, everywhere on Earth looks mysteriously like Canada early on and like California later on. In a particularly egregious example, British Columbia became Puerto Rico in "Little Green Men" by turning up the color saturation and dubbing on jungle sound effects. Similarly, "Anasazi" had a New Mexico that was actually a Canadian quarry painted orange.
    • The opposite happened once the show moved to California. Desert shots—like the ones in "Within/Without" which were actually shot in a desert—were more realistic, while the ones portraying other parts of the US became markedly less realistic. Season 7's "Chimera," for example, set in Vermont, has many plant species (and weather for the time period it's set in) that simply do not exist in New England.
    • The episode "Detour" purportedly took place in the Apalachicola Forest in north-central Florida. A Pacific Northwest forest was used as the set instead of the expected live oaks and slash pines.

  • William Shakespeare and potatoes:
    • Falstaff declares "Let the sky rain potatoes" in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Since Sir John is from the reign of Henry IV (1347-1413), he should have never heard of potatoes. (He then says "Let it thunder to the tune of Greensleeves", so Will wasn't even trying to set this in the 14th century any more. Which doesn't stop the in-story editor of Falstaff by Robert Nye using the non-existence of potatoes as evidence everything John Fastolf says is nonsense.)
    • In Troilus and Cressida, Thersites refers to "the devil Luxury, with his fat rump and potato-finger". During The Trojan War.

    Video Games 
  • Animal Crossing has rafflesia, if you let there be enough weeds in your town, then one will eventually pop out of nowhere. It isn't that jarring, considering this is the same game where you can fish up piranhas and coelecanth from a small town filled with anthropomorphic animals.
  • Prickly Pear cacti can be found in some islands in Assassin's Creed: Odyssey. While it's widespread in modern Greece, the species is native the US and Mexico and wouldn't be introduced to Europe for more than two thousand years.
  • Assassin's Creed Origins: Giant water lilies from South America.
  • The Valparaiso map of Bad Company 2 takes places in a jungle. The real Valparaiso is nowhere near any jungles, and has a semi-arid climate that more closely matches Southern California. Ditto the Valparaiso track in WipEout 2097.
  • In the multiplayer level "Turbine" in Call of Duty: Black Ops II, there are cacti littered around the map, which is explicitly set in the Sarawat Steppes of Yemen, on the Arabian Peninsula. Thing is, cacti are native to the Americas, not western Asia. Since the game is set in the future, though, you could make the argument that they're a non-native invasive species.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Tamriel, primarily a Medieval European Fantasy setting, includes real-life plants from Europe, Africa, and the Americas all in one continent. For example, despite otherwise being closer to a North African desert, Hammerfell includes cacti. Further, poisonous nightshades (Europe) can be found growing among edible "new world" plants like potatoes, tomatoes, and corn.
    • Many plant species are also found growing outside of their typical climates. In the cold northern clime of Skyrim alone (setting of the eponymous game), one can find Boston Ferns (Florida and the Caribbean)note , Orchids growing in the ground (Philippines, where they grow in treesnote .), Cryptanthus (Brazil), Norfolk Island Pines (New Zealand), variegated Algerian Ivy (a modern garden cultivar that was certainly not available to the Scandinavians in the Middle Ages), tomatoes (which should not be a common crop anywhere farmers frequently complain of frosty nights during the growing season), and anywhere described as "tundra" should not have trees ("treeless" is part of the very definition of "tundra"). Likewise, Moon Sugar, a Fantastic Drug similar in appearance and effect to real-world cocaine, is primarily grown in the desert environment of Elsweyr. Real life Coca plants are almost entirely grown in low-altitude South American jungle environments.
  • Halo 3: Plants from the Pacific Northwest (e.g. rhododendrons, ivy)note  in the African jungle. And there aren't any jungles in that part of Kenya anyways.
  • And again with Rafflesias, The King of Fighters XIII has one in the Brazil stage.
  • The main theme for Kirby Super Star sub game The Great Cave Offensive is called Trees in the Depths of the Earth.
  • For some reason, Glacier le Cactank of Mega Man Zero 3 is an ice-based cactus based in a snowy region.
  • Absolutely everywhere in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, though it's justified by being imported species for government experiments. Interestingly, the one example The Last Days of FOXHOUND chose to lampshade this trope (tumbleweeds) is actually a native species to the region, and an invasive weed in the southwestern United States where it is most well known.

    Web Original 
  • Pirates SMP:
    • In the treasure quest "The Drunken Nightingale – Flowers", the treasure is marked by a flower not native to the island which the treasure is found on; it's a modded flower on an island otherwise filled with flowers from vanilla Minecraft.
    • Invoked for "The Cursed Crew – Foliage", where a superstitious pirate clan buried their treasure and planted a tree foreign to the islands in an attempt to distract the sea monster hunting them long enough to get away. The tree in question is a jungle tree on an island of acacia trees.

    Western Animation 
  • One episode of Disney's Aladdin: The Series had Africans growing corn in the Middle Ages.
  • Dora the Explorer is implied to take place in Central America. She has been seen picking wild blueberries in the show; mainly on Blueberry Hill, where the villain Swiper the Fox lives. Blueberries never grow in Central America, they're farther north.
  • G.I. Joe: Renegades made the same mistake with St. Louis that Supernatural did: though all the trees around Duke's family's house are (correctly) deciduous, the ones passed by in all the car-cashes were all conifers, which would only makes sense if they were going past a series of enormous Christmas tree yard.
  • Parodied in the "I Had an Accident" episode from SpongeBob SquarePants. While "sandboarding" (the underwater equivalent of snowboarding) down a sand dune, SpongeBob almost crashes into an unexplained coniferous tree wearing scuba gear.
  • Total Drama:
    • Courtney questions why there are palm trees in Muskoka when a coconut falls on her head in "Haute Camp-ture". The production crew responds to her complaints that the least they can do is make their props geographically correct by dumping a pile of snow, a sled, and a Native Canadian on her.
    • None of the Final Four notice that wherever they're stranded in "Camp Castaways", it can hardly be thought of as the middle of nowhere considering there are plants in pots all around. What's more, they're mostly plants not native to the area, such as coconut palms, pineapple plants, and banana trees. Chef is the only one to express confusion, as he asks why there are palm trees and coconuts in Northern Ontario. Chris answers that they're leftover props from a dinosaur movie shoot that they reused to save money.
    • Oddities in the flora on Pahkitew Island is one of several clues that the island is not natural. In "I Love You, Grease Pig!", Jasmine is confused to spot a Chinese mulberry bush and a manchineel tree among the island's vegetation.

    Real Life 
  • Thanks to mankind's tendency to move species around for the hell of it, you can find certain species in areas where they have no right whatsoever to grow. There is a small Caribbean island infested with pine trees that the government was having the darnedest time killing off. The eucalyptus tree, native to Australia, has expanded across California, South Africa, Madagascar's highlands, Ethiopia, and north of Spain for the same reason. Much like Misplaced Wildlife, this usually either kills off the plants moved or the indigenous plants, depending on the environment. Many countries maintain noxious/invasive weed eradication programs similar to this US example. Eucalyptus trees in particular are exceptionally good at draining swamps, which is why they were imported into places as diverse as Israel (Mandatory Palestine at the time) and Southern California.
  • A good real life example is in California: Palm Trees. They're not native to this area, they were just brought here because they grow nicely here and "look pretty." Problem. Here? They rain pollen, so if you're in SoCal and wonder why you can't stop sneezing: it's because of this trope. The one exception is the Washington Palm, Washingtonia filifera. It's for this tree that Palm Springs was named. However, this is usually not the same tree that lines the streets of LA and other Southwestern cities.
  • You know where else you find palm trees? Ireland. To give an idea of how messed up that is, Ireland sits on the fifty-third parallel, which puts it on the same latitude as Edmonton, though the Gulf Stream makes the temperatures relatively warm and stable.
  • Here's one that might blow your mind: tumbleweeds are not native to the American west. Their common name among botanists is Russian Thistle. They were originally accidentally unleashed on South Dakota in 1870 or 1874 in a shipment of flaxseed, and had colonized the west coast by 1900. They now have such a strong association with The Wild West in popular perception that Western movies are almost obligated to include them, even if they weren't present at the time depicted.
  • Kudzu in the southeastern US is another notorious example; it's originally from China. Fun fact: it's edible. (You can eat the vine that ate the south!) The Japanese make desserts out of the starch and jelly from the flowers, and the Vietnamese mix the starch with citrus and water to make a refreshing summertime drink.
  • And in Florida (as well as Lake Victoria in Africa), Water Hyacinths from South America. They clog the lakes up. The Florida State government, for example, said, "Do what you want. Get rid of this!" in legalese.
  • Almost as bad in the North as Kudzu is in the South, English Ivy has gone from picturesque ornamental plant to major pest.
  • Tamarisk, a.k.a. Salt Cedar, is a drought-hardy plant that was brought to some areas of the US (Colorado and Utah have loads of this, particularly the Colorado river system), but is a majorly invasive species. You see, Tamarisk is originally from the Kazakh steppes not far from Russia. Eastern Colorado has a very similar climate to the Tamarisk's natural habitat, but has none of the natural counters to it. Thus this tree spreads like weeds all over the southwest's precious little water resources. It's difficult to kill off (you can't burn them out, the roots survive to grow again), they can (and in several places DO) suck a river dry, they weed out the native trees and plants and they're ugly to boot! The Colorado state and local governments have been waging a war against these plants for over 10 years and have yet to make significant progress against them. The current strategy employed is introducing ANOTHER species, the Tamarisk Leaf Beetle, Diorhabda elongata, which is released en masse every year to go out and eat the tamarisk.
  • Russian Olive is also similar in Colorado, as it's actually outlawed. The Tree of Heaven is also considered a noxious weed, and it can grow anywhere, even out of a crack in the road.
  • Another huge problem in the western US? Grass. Namely cheatgrass and several other species of brome. Originally introduced as feed, they went wild and took over the landscape, obliterating all native grasses in their path. Not only that, but because they aren't well adapted to dry environments, they're a huge fire hazard. Every year there are thousands of wildfires spread and fueled by these grasses.
  • Likewise, the common dandelion isn't native to North America. It was introduced by European settlers as a salad green and medicinal herb, and has gone on to become the single most recognizable lawn-and-garden weed on the continent. There are native species in the same genus, but ironically they're mostly being driven extinct by competition from the invasive sort and/or by gardeners' indiscriminate attempts to eradicate anything that looks like a dandelion.
  • Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), native to Europe and Asia, has become a major pest in parts of the US, and a particular bane of equestrians, as it spreads prolifically and is toxic to horses. Ironically, horses themselves are also native to Europe and Asia and only exist in the Americas because Europeans introduced them.
  • Originally imported from Europe for erosion control in developed areas in the temperate US (particularly around roads), Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius) has since been designated a noxious weed due to its tendency to spread rapidly and crowd out native species.
  • Blackcurrant almost became this. It's native to Europe, but was outlawed in the US because it carried the vector for white pine rust, and this threatened the logging industry in New England. While it is not under a federal ban anymore, it's making a bit of a "comeback" in places like New York. As a result of the longtime ban on blackcurrant, combined with the fact that they don't grow as well, Americans prefer the more native blueberries or cranberries.
  • Somewhat zigzagged with raspberries — surprisingly they are native to the Old World and the New World. Sometimes? They are actually hybrids of species.
  • Another Floridian example — one variety of melaleuca, the paper bark tea tree (usually just "melaleuca" to locals) was originally brought in to help quickly drain swampland to make more habitable land, particularly near the Everglades. Between its thirst, its ability to block out saplings of local plants, and the fact that almost nothing native to Florida eats it, it has become a serious menace to the Everglades.
  • Anywhere north of the sixtieth parallel is either boreal forest, tundra, or shield country (or, if you go really far north, sea ice). Boreal forest has a very distinctive appearance — the trees are mostly conifers, with the occasional birch or larchnote  thrown in, and very tall and skinny. A forest full of thick deciduous angiosperm (or worse, non-coniferous gymnosperm, as very few will confuse a ginkgo for a pine) trees pretending to be the Yukon isn't particularly convincing, no matter how much snow is on the ground.
  • Most cases of grass in the Mesozoic era or earlier, due to Science Marches On. The "Walking With..." was one of the only series to avert this, until they recently found out that there ''was'' grass during the Cretaceous period.
  • The Middle Ages in general are a big victim of this, what with all the American crops that didn't exist there yet.
    • The most conspicuous being potatoes, a staple food in modern Europe. Name the fantasy novel that takes place in pseudo-Medieval-Europe that doesn't have potatoes in it. They're just too yummy to let go.
    • Similarly, tomatoes. Tomatoes originated in South America. Today, Italian cuisine puts tomatoes in a lot — and even then, the Italians don't use tomato as much as some of the other Mediterraneans (the Spaniards, Turks, and Egyptians come to mind for putting tomatoes in anything they can think of).
    • Other fun products of the Columbian exchange introduced to the Old World: chocolate, chili (especially in Korea), rubber, paprika (a Hungarian staple spice), and maize corn (as contrasted with the more general definition of corn as any cereal crop).
    • Vanilla is another product of the Columbian exchange. It's often associated with the country of Madagascar, thanks in part due to growing in the environment well. Yet Vanilla was actually domesticated in Veracruz, Mexico.
  • Tall, waving White Pines (covered in snow, no less) in Georgia (see Dreaming of a White Christmas).
  • Pineapples are strongly associated with Hawaiʻi and the Caribbean...and originated in South America. To the extent that in Peru, if not other South American countries, restaurants will frequently call menu items "Hawai'ian" if pineapple is an ingredient.
  • Speaking of Hawaiʻi, this is a very interesting example. Studies have shown that sweet potatoes were a widely-used crop of ancient Hawaiʻi. More studies have shown that sweet potatoes are, in fact, not native to Hawaii or any of the islands the Native Hawaiʻians could've migrated from. They're actually native to South America. How the Native Hawaiʻians (and a variety of other Polynesian cultures) obtained sweet potatoes has long been a subject of debate. Given that Polynesians have a well-earned reputation as great mariners, one controversial but decently well-supported theory is that they sailed all the way to South America and brought back sweet potatoes.
  • Cottonwood trees have invaded northern Arizona (there is in fact an Arizona city named for them).
  • Indian figs are native to the Americas, but have successfully invaded most of the Mediterranean region after they were introduced in the 1500s. They also became a plague in Australia in the 19th and early 20th centuries, prompting government policies to eradicate them. A more common name for Indian figs is "prickly pear cactus", for clarity.
  • Hydrangeas are not native to the Azores, but began to proliferate there after being brought over.
  • Garlic mustard, native to Europe, is a huge problem in North America.
  • Johnsongrass is a type of sorghum that is native to Africa and Asia. It's a noxious weed in the United States and Argentina. Yes, it's related to sorghum.
  • A German soccer team trainer once famously stated that a certain African player should go back to Africa to dribble around the cacti. Little did he know that there's only one cactus species that can be found on the whole African continent, the mistletoe cactus. However, cacti have escaped from gardens in Africa.
  • On Naked and Afraid, an XL season that took place in South Africa found Nopal cacti. Cacti are not actually native to Africa, meaning this find (while good) suggests that it's somehow been spreading far enough into nature reserves.
  • Rhododendron ponticum is not native to the UK, having been introduced in the 18th century (it had existed in the region prior to the last Ice Age but had not recolonised after the ice retreated). It has caused untold damage to the native flora and fauna and is considered a major pest with eradication strategies having been in place for years. However, it's found everywhere so people often don't realize that it's an introduced species, or how much damage it's doing to the environment. This lack of awareness is especially evident in period shows where, despite the producers doing their best to make the location look as un-modern as possible, they don't tend to care if plants such as rhododendron appear in shot despite them not having been introduced to the country at the time of the show's setting.
  • In Last Chance to See, Douglas Adams notes that privet, that plant synonymous with dull suburban hedgerows, has become an absolute menace on islands where European settlers wanted to mark their borders with something that reminded them of home.
  • California redwoods have been introduced to places as far away from their native habitat as Germany, Ireland, China and New Zealand, and in some cases have thrived to produce new forests. This has been done both because of their impressively large size and because some of these places used to have native redwoods that are now long extinct. The smaller but still impressive Chinese dawn redwood has also been (so far) saved from extinction largely by its popularity as an ornamental plant around the world.
  • Jacaranda mimosifolia is native to Argentina and Bolivia, but the trees have been planted in a slew of different places (particularly Australia and parts of the US) for their beautiful flowers. They're regarded as an invasive species in South Africa and parts of Queensland, as its seeds germinate easily and its root system outcompetes local species.