Invasive Plant Species in New York City

This list is a dynamic document, meaning that some plants that are docile today may become invasive at a later date. Also, many species are considered noxious weeds in neighboring counties and states, but are not yet a problem in the five boroughs (for example, butterflybush, Buddleja davidii).  Such plants should be considered problematic in the Big Apple and avoided in gardens.  As vigilant a gardener as one may be, it is impossible to monitor wind-borne seeds and bird-dispersed berries that are guaranteed to travel beyond your fence. For information on how to rid the landscape of these nuisance species, see Weeds Gone Wild, TNC Weeds, and “For More Information” below.

•Very Invasive
• Moderately Invasive
• Occasionally Invasive and/or Locally Aggressive
• Watchlist of Potential Invasives
• For More Information
• References

Very Invasive

~Trees~

• Acer platanoides (Norway maple) & A. pseudoplatanus (sycamore maple)
• Ailanthus altissima (tree-of heaven)
• Morus alba (white mulberry)
• Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
• Salix fragilis (brittle willow)

~Shrubs~

• Aralia elata (Japanese angelica-tree)

N.B. There is some debate as to the nativity of Aralia spinosa in our area. A. spinosa is native to Delaware and south. Nearly all encounters
with A. spinosa in our area is really A. elata. They are very difficult to differentiate.

• Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive)
• Frangula alnus {syn. Rhamnus frangula} (European buckthorn)
• Ligustrum obtusifolium (Amur river privet), L. vulgare (European privet)
• Lonicera tatarica (Tartarian honeysuckle) & L. maackii ‘Rem Red’ (Amur honeysuckle)
• Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
• Rubus phoenocolasius (wineberry)

~Woody Vines~

• Ampelopsis brevipedunculata (porcelain berry)
• Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental bittersweet)
• Hedera helix (English ivy)
• Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
• Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade)
• Wisteria floribunda (Japanese wisteria)

~Herbs~

• Aegopodium podagraria (goutweed)
• Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
• Allium vineale (field garlic)
• Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
• Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)
• Polygonum cuspidatum {syn. Fallopia japonica} (Japanese knotweed)
• Ranunculus ficaria (lesser celandine)


~Grasses, Sedges, Rushes (Graminoids)~

• Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
• Phragmites australis (common reed)

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Moderately Invasive

~Trees~

• Paulownia tomentosa (empress tree)
• Phellodendron amurense (Amur corktree)
• Pyrus calleryana (callery pear)
• Ulmus pumila (Siberian elm)


~Shrubs~

• Berberis vulgaris (common barberry)
• Elaeagnus angustifolia (Russian olive)
• Lonicera morrowii (Morrow’s honeysuckle)
• Rhamnus cathartica (common buckthorn)
• Rosa rugosa (Japanese rose)


~Woody Vines~
• Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria)


~Herbs~

• Hemerocallis fulva (common daylily)
• Ornithogalum umbellatum (star of Bethlehem)
• Pachysandra terminalis (Japanese pachysandra)
• Polygonum perfoliatum (mile-a-minute vine) & P. sachalinense (giant knotweed)
• Potamogeton crispus (curly pondweed)
• Pueraria lobata (kudzu)


~Grasses, Sedges, & Rushes (Graminoids)~

• Agrostis gigantia (redtop)
• Festuca elatior {syn. F. arundinacea} (tall fescue)
• Holcus lanatus (common velvet grass)
• Phleum pratense (timothy)
• Phalaris arundinacea (reed canary grass)

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Occasionally Invasive and/or Locally Aggressive

~Trees~

• Albizia julibrissin (mimosa tree)
• Alnus glutinosa (European alder)
• Broussonetia papyrifera (paper mulberry)
• Phellodendron japonicum (Japanese cork tree)
• Populus alba (white poplar)
• Prunus avium (sweet cherry)
• Quercus cerris (European turkey oak) {reproducing in Central Park}
• Salix alba (white willow)


~Shrubs~

• Ilex crenata (Japanese holly)
• Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
• Lycium barbarum (matrimony-vine)
• Rubus laciniatus (evergreen blackberry)
• Viburnum plicatum (doublefile viburnum) & V. sieboldii (Siebold’s viburnum)


~Woody Vines~

• Acanthopanax sieboldianus (five-leaved aralia)
• Euonymus fortunei (wintercreeper)

~Herbs~

• Calystegia sepium {syn. Convolvulus s.} (hedge-bindweed)
• Centaurea maculosa {syn. C. biebersteinii} (spotted knapweed)
• Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle)
• Coronilla varia (crown vetch)
• Cynanchum louiseae{syn. Vincetoxicum nigrum} (black swallow-wort)
• Humulus japonicus (Japanese hops)
• Iris pseudacorus (yellow iris)
• Myriophyllum spicatum (Eurasian water milfoil)
• Vinca minor (common periwinkle)

~Grasses, Sedges, & Rushes (Graminoids)~

• Bromus tectorum (Junegrass)
• Carex extensa (long-bract sedge)
• Eragrostis curvula (African weeping lovegrass)
• Poa compressa (wiregrass) & P. pratensis (Kentucky bluegrass)

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Watchlist of Potential Invasives
These plants are naturalizing and/or known to be invasive in neighboring states and counties but are not a problem in NYC…yet.

~Trees~

• Acer ginnala (Amur maple)
• Acer palmatum (Japanese maple) – *is naturalizing in NYC*
• Pinus sylvestris (Scotch pine)
• Pinus thunbergiana (Japanese black pine)
• Salix babylonica (weeping willow)
• Sophora japonica (Scholar tree) {commonly planted as a street tree} – *is naturalizing in NYC*

~Shrubs~

• Philadelphus coronarius (sweet mock-orange)
• Viburnum dilatatum (linden viburnum), V. lantana (wayfaring tree), & V. opulus var. opulus (European cranberry bush)

~Woody Vines~

• Clematis terniflora (yam-leaved clematis)
• Parthenocissus tricuspidata (Boston ivy)

~Herbs~

• Cabomba caroliniana (fanwort)
• Cardamine impatiens (narrowleaf bittercress)
• Cirsium vulgare (bull thistle)
• Cynanchum rossicum {syn. Vincetoxicum rossicum} (swallow-wort)
• Heracleum mantegazzianum (giant hogweed) – *naturalizing in the Bronx*
• Hesperis matronalis (dame’s rocket)
• Hypericum perforatum (common St. Johnswort)
• Melilotus officinalis (yellow clover)
• Nasturtium officinale (watercress)
• Nymphoides peltata (yellow floating heart) – *naturalizing in Queens*
• Pastinaca sativa (wild parsnip)

~Grasses, Sedges, & Rushes (Graminoids)~

• Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
• Bromus inermis (smooth broom)
• Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
• Digitaria ischaemum (smooth crab-grass) & D. sanguinalis (northern crab-grass)
• Poa annua (annual bluegrass)
• Setaria glauca {syn. S. lutescens} (yellow foxtail) & S. viridis (green foxtail)

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For More Information

Invasive Plant List of New England (IPANE)
Invasive Plants of Pennsylvania
Non-Native Invasive & Potentially Invasive Vascular Plants in Connecticut
Northeastern Weed Science Society
Mid-Atlantic Exotic Pest Plant Council Plant List

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