Invasive Plants in the Chicago Region

Chicago Botanic Garden Status:

RRemove as soon as possible, including all cultivars, and/or do not add to collection in future
PPhase out (species that pose a lesser invasive risk, form significant structural features in landscape, and will be time-consuming to replace will be phased out over a five- to ten-year period)
EEvaluate species and cultivars, then remove invasive taxa


Plants with a dash under the "alternatives" column are not commonly used ornamentally.

Scientific Name
Common Name
Plan

Alternatives

Acer ginnala
Amur maple
PAcer rubrum (red maple), Quercus alba (white oak)
Acer platanoides
Norway maple
R species
E cultivars
Acer x freemanii 'Marmo' (Marmomaple), Acer miyabei (Miyabe maple), Acer rubrum (red maple), Quercus alba (whiteoak)
Aegopodium podagraria
Goutweed
RAsarum (wild ginger), Epimedium spp. (barrenwort), Glandularia canadensis (mock rose vervain), Hosta (hosta)
Agropyron repens
Quack grass
RPanicum virgatum cvs. (switch grass), Sporobolus heterolepsis (prairie dropseed)
Ailanthus altissima
Tree-of-heaven
RGymnocladus dioicus (Kentucky coffee tree), Celtis occidentalis (Hackberry), Styphnolobium (formerly Sophora) japonica (Pagoda tree)
Alliaria petiolata
Garlic mustard
R
Alnus glutinosa
European black alder
PCeltis laevigata (sugarberry), Celtis occidentalis (common hackberry), Nyssa sylvatica (black tupelo)
Alternanthera philoxeroides
Alligator weed
R
Ampelopsis brevipedunculata
Porcelainberry vine
RClematis spp. (clematis)
Anthriscus sylvestris
Wild chervil
RAruncus spp. (goatsbeard), Achillea spp. (yarrow)
Arctium minus
Lesser burdock
R
Artemisia absinthium
Wormwood
RBrunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' (Siberian bugloss), Pulmonaria 'Silver Shimmers' (lungwort), Senecio cineraria (dusty miller), Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian sage)
Azolla spp.
Water fern
RLemna minor (lesser duck weed)
Berberis thunbergii
Japanese barberry
RPhysocarpus opulifolius (ninebark), Ribes odoratum (clove currant)
Berberis vulgaris
European barberry
RPhysocarpus opulifolius (ninebark), Ribes odoratum (clove currant)
Bromus inermis
Smooth brome
R
Butomus umbellatus
Flowering rush
RJuncus effusus (common rush), Sagittaria, Schoenoplectus americanus (bulrush)
Cabomba caroliniana
Fanwort
R
Carduus nutans
Nodding plumeless thistle
REchinacea spp. (coneflower), Silphium spp. (rosinweed, prairie dock, compass plant)
Celastrus orbiculatus
Oriental bittersweet
RAristolochia durior (Dutchman's pipe), Celastrus scandens (American bittersweet)
Centaurea maculosa
Spotted knapweed
REchinacea spp. (coneflower), Silphium spp. (rosinweed, prairie dock, compass plant)
Cirsium arvense
Canada thistle
REchinacea spp. (coneflower), Silphium spp. (rosinweed, prairie dock, compass plant)
Cirsium palustre
Marsh plume thistle
R(see C. arvense)
Cirsium vulgare
Bull thistle
R(see C. arvense)
Conium maculatum
Poison hemlock
RAruncus spp. (goatsbeard), Achillea spp. (yarrow)
Coronilla varia
Crown vetch
RVicia americana (purple vetch) Tephrosia virginiana (Goat’s-rue), Phlox subulata (creeping phlox)
Cotoneaster multiflorus
Many-flowered cotoneaster
PPhysocarpus opulifolius (ninebark), Ribes odoratum (clove currant)
Daucus carota
Queen Anne's lace
RAruncus spp. (goatsbeard), Achillea spp. (yarrow)
Dioscorea batatas
Chinese yam
RNo ornamental alternative; used medicinally
Dipsacus laciniatus
Cutleaf teasel
REchinacea spp. (coneflower), Rudbeckia spp. (black-eyed Susan)
Dipsacus sylvestris
Teasel
R(see D. laciniatus)
Duchesnia indica
Wild strawberry
RWaldsteinia ternata (barren strawberry)
Echinops sphaerocephalus
Globe thistle
RLiatris spp. (blazing star), Monarda spp.(beebalm), Phlox spp.(phlox), Salvia spp. (sage), Thalictrum spp.(meadowrue), Veronica spp. (speedwell)
Egeria densa
Brazilian elodea
RElodea canadensis (water weed)
Eichornia crassipes
Water hyacinth
RNo ornamental alternative
Elaeagnus umbellatus
Autumn olive
RAesculus parviflora (bottlebrush buckeye), Aronia melanocarpa (black chokeberry), Corylus americana (American filbert)
Epilobium hirsutum
Hairy fireweed
R(see E. sphaerocephalus)
Euonymus alatus
Winged euonymus
REuonymus americanus (American strawberry bush), Itea virginica (Virginia sweetspire), Rhus copallina var. latifolia 'Morton' (Prairie Flame shining sumac)
Euonymus europeaus
European spindletree
REuonymus americanus (American strawberry bush), Itea virginica (Virginia sweetspire)
Euonymus fortunei
Wintercreeper
E, IAsarum spp.(ginger), Helleborus spp. (hellebore)
Euphorbia cyparissias
Cypress spurge
ROriganum laevigatum (ornamental oregano), selected Sedum spp. (stonecrop)
Euphorbia esula
Leafy spurge
RAurinia saxatilis (basket-of-gold)
Festuca elatior (=F. arundinacea)
Tall fescue
R
Festuca pratense
Meadow fescue
R
Glechoma hederacea
Ground ivy
R
Hemerocallis fulva (locally invasive)
Tawny daylily
R (wild type only)Hemerocallis hybrids (daylily), Lilium spp. & cvs. (lily), Papaver orientale (Oriental poppy)
Heracleum mantegazzianum
Giant hogweed
RAruncus spp. (goatsbeard), Achillea spp. (yarrow)
Hesperis matronalis
Dame's rocket
R(See E. sphaerocephalus)
Hippophae rhamnoides
Common sea buckthorn
R
Hydrilla verticillata
Hydrilla, water thyme
R
Hydrocharis morsus-ranae
European frog-bit
RNative Nuphar (yellow pond lily) and Nymphaea (waterlily)
Hypericum perforatum
Common St. Johnswort
ROther Hypericum spp. (St. Johnswort)
Ipomoea aquatica
Water spinach
RJusticia americana (American water willow)
Iris pseudacorus
Yellow flag iris
RIris fulva 'Lois Yellow' (copper iris), Iris virginica var. shrevii (interior blue flag iris)
Lespedeza cuneata
Chinese bush clover
RBaptisia spp. (wild indigo)
Leymus arenarius
Blue lyme grass
RAmmophila breviligulata (American beach grass)
Ligustrum obtusifolium
Border privet
PPhysocarpus opulifolius (ninebark), Ribes odoratum (clove currant)
Ligustrum vulgare
Common privet
PPhysocarpus opulifolius (ninebark), Ribes odoratum (clove currant)
Linaria vulgaris
Butter-and-eggs
RAntirrhinum majus cvs. (snapdragons), Calibrachoa cvs. (million bells), Digitalis spp. (foxglove), Nemesia fruticans cvs. (nemesia)
Lonicera x bella
Bell's honeysuckle
RAmelanchier spp. & cvs. (serviceberry), Calycanthus floridus (Carolina allspice), Diervilla spp. (bush honeysuckle)
Lonicera japonica
Japanese honeysuckle
RClematis spp. (clematis), native Lonicera spp. (native honeysuckles)
Lonicera maackii
Amur honeysuckle
RAmelanchier spp. & cvs. (serviceberry), Calycanthus floridus (Carolina allspice), Diervilla spp. (bush honeysuckle)
Lonicera morrowii
Morrow's honeysuckle
RAmelanchier spp. & cvs. (serviceberry), Calycanthus floridus (Carolina allspice), Diervilla spp. (bush honeysuckle)
Lonicera tatarica
Tatarian honeysuckle
RAmelanchier spp. & cvs. (serviceberry), Calycanthus floridus (Carolina allspice), Diervilla spp. (bush honeysuckle)
Lotus corniculatus
Bird's-foot trefoil
R
Lysimachia nummularia
Moneywort
RChrysogonum virginianum (green and gold), Origanum laevigatum (ornamental oregano)
Lysimachia verticillata
Whorled loosestrife
R
Lythrum salicaria
Purple loosestrife
RAsclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed), Liatris spp. (blazing star), Physostegia virginiana 'Vivid' (obedient plant)
Malus spp. (crabapples)
Crabapple
E, ICrataegus spp. (hawnthorn species), Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Melilotus alba
White sweet-clover
RBaptisia spp. (wild indigo)
Melilotus officinalis
Yellow sweet- clover
RBaptisia spp. (wild indigo)
Microstegium vimineum
Japanese stilt grass
R
Miscanthus sacchariflorus
Amur silver grass
R(see A. repens)
Miscanthus sinensis
Chinese silver grass, Autumn Red Miscanthus, Flame Grass, Eulalia, Maiden Grass, Zebra Grass (exempted cultivars are M.s. ‘Silberpfeil,’ ‘Hinjo’ and Miscanthus x giganteus)
P(see A. repens)
Morus alba
Mulberry
PCrataegus spp. (hawthorn species), Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Myriophyllum aquaticum
Parrot feather
RElodea canadensis (water weed)
Myriophyllum spicatum
Eurasian watermilfoil
RElodea canadensis (water weed)
Najus minor
Toothed water weed
R
Nasturtium officinale
Watercress
R
Nymphoides peltata
Yellow floatingheart
RNative Nuphar (yellow pond lily)and Nymphaea (waterlily)
Pastinaca sativa
Wild parsnip
R
Perilla frutescens
Beefsteak plant
RMonarda didyma (bee balm), Pycnanthemum muticum (mountain mint), Coleus, Occimum basilicum (basil)
Persicaria perfoliata (formerly Polygonum perfoliatum)
Mile-a-minute vine
R
Phalaris arundinacea
Reed canary grass
RSpartina pectinata 'Aureomarginata' (variegated prairie cordgrass)
Phellodendron amurense (excluding male cultivars)
Amur corktree
RAcer rubrum (red maple), Phellodendron amurense (male cvs.), Quercus alba (white oak)
Phellodendron japonica (excluding male cultivars)
Japanese corktree
RAcer rubrum (red maple), Phellodendron amurense (male cvs.), Quercus alba (white oak)
Phragmites australis
Common reed
RErianthus ravennae (Plume grass)
Pistia stratiotes
Water lettuce
R
Poa compressa
Canada bluegrass
I
Poa pratensis
Kentucky bluegrass
I
Polygonum cuspidatum = P. japonicum
Japanese knotweed
R, (E cv. Crimson Beauty)Actaea racemosa (black cohosh), Aruncus dioicus (goatsbeard), Polygonatum spp.(Solomon's seal), Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal), Tricyrtis spp.(toad lily)
Polygonum sachalinense
Giant knotweed
R(see P. cuspidatum)
Populus alba
White poplar
P 
Portulaca oleracea
Purslane
RAurinia saxatilis (basket-of-gold), selected Sedum spp. & cvs. (stonecrop)
Potamogeton crispus
Curlyleaf pondweed
R
Potentilla argentea
Silver cinquefoil
RChrysogonum virginianum (green and gold)
Prunus mahaleb
Mahaleb cherry
PCrataegus spp. (hawthorn species), Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Pueraria montana =P. lobata
Kudzu vine
R
Pyrus calleryana
Callery pear
PChionanthus virginicus (fringetree), Crataegus spp. (hawthorn species), Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Ranunculus ficaria
Lesser celendine
RAsarum canadense (wild ginger), Jeffersonia diphylla (twinleaf)  
Rhamnus cathartica
Common buckthorn
RAlnus rugosa (speckled alder), Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbeam), Corylus americana (American filbert), Thuja occidentalis (American arborvitae) and Thuja plicata (giant arborvitae)
Rhamnus frangula
Glossy buckthorn
RAlnus rugosa (speckled alder), Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbeam), Corylus americana (American filbert), Thuja occidentalis (American arborvitae) and Thuja plicata (giant arborvitae)
Robinia pseudoacacia
Black locust
RCatalpa speciosa (Northern catalpa), Gleditsia triacanthos (honeylocust)
Rorippa sylvestris
Creeping yellow-cress
RAurinia saxatilis (basket-of-gold), selected Sedum ssp. & cvs. (stonecrop)
Rosa multiflora
Japanese rose
R (check rootstocks)Rosa spp. & cvs. (hardy shrub roses)
Rumex acetosella
Garden sorrel
RBeta vulgaris 'Bright Lights'(Swiss chard) Solenostemon scutellarioides (coleus)
Salvinia molesta and S.minima
Water fern
R
Saponaria officinalis
Bouncing bet
RLiatris spp. (blazing star), Monarda spp. (bee balm), Phlox spp. (phlox), Salvia spp. (sage), Thalictrum spp. (meadowrue), Veronica spp. (speedwell)
Setaria faberi
Japanese bristlegrass
R
Sonchus arvensis
Field sow thistle
RCoreopsis spp. (coreopsis); Helianthus spp. (sunflower)
Sorghum halapense
Johnson grass
R
Stachys balansae
No common name
R(failed plant evaluation)
Thalictrum buschianum
No common name
R(failed plant evaluation)
Trapa natans
European water chestnut
R
Typha angustifolia
Narrow leaf cattail
RTypha latifolia
Ulmus pumila
Siberian elm
RDutch-resistant cvs. of Ulmus americana (American elm)
Valeriana officinalis
Common valerian
R(See E. sphaerocephalus)
Verbascum thapsus
Flannel mullein
RDigitalis spp. (foxglove)
Veronica gentianoides
Gentian speedwell
R(failed plant evaluation), Veronicastrum virginicum (Culvers root), Veronica spicata (spike speedwell)
Viburnum opulus
European cranberrybush viburnum
R species
E cultivars
Viburnum dentatum cvs. (arrowwood viburnum), Viburnum trilobum (American cranberrybush viburnum)
Vinca minor
Common periwinkle
E, IAsarum spp. (ginger)
Vincetoxicum nigrum
Black swallowwort
R
Vincetoxicum rossicum
Swallowwort
R