What Is An Invasive Plant?

An 'invasive' plant is a non-native plant that infests natural areas and causes environmental or economic damage, or harms human health. Non-native refers to a plant that does not grow here naturally, but has been introduced from another country or area. Not ALL non-native plants are invasive!

Many invasive plants were initially introduced - with good intentions - for use in landscaping. These plants became invasive when they escaped cultivation and spread rapidly, degrading and destroying thousands of acres of our natural plant communities here in Indiana. Some of these plants are still available commercially!

Below are a few invasive species commonly found in Indiana:

Collage multiflora rose


Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora)   





Collage asianbush honeysuckle



Asian Bush Honeysuckle (Lonicera maacki)





Collage bradfordpear



Callery (Bradford) Pear Pyrus calleryana)




Collage autumnolive



Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)




Collage garlicmustard



Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)




Collage wintercreeper



Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei)




Collage purple loosestrife



Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria





Giant Hogweed - Copy


Giant Hogweed  (Heracleum mantegazzianum) First year is a single leaf - by the fourth or fifth year, it can reach a height of 7 -15 feet. The most dangerous part of this plant is its sap - the sap causes severe photodermatitis, which can result in burning and scarring of the skin. If sap gets in eyes, it can cause temporary to permanent scarring or loss of vision. IMPORTANT! If you find a plant you think may be Giant Hogweed, DO NOT TOUCH IT!