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Additional Resources

Beetle Busters Don’t Move Firewood Invasive Species

Invasive Plant Atlas of New Eng- Natural Resource Conservation

land (IPANE)
Service (NRCS) Southern New England
New England Wild Flower Society The Nature Conservancy’s Global Invasive Species Team (archived) Help Spot Them, Help Stop Them.
U.S. Department of Agriculture’s
Animal Plant Health Inspection Ser-
Others to contact include your
local land trust; “Friends of”
groups for your local parks, state
Credits forest or waterway; watershed
. associations; or hiking/birding/
Alexey Zinovjev and Irina Kadis are the
camping groups in your commu-
authors of and its photo-
graphs. All other photo credits listed on nity.
each photo. Design of the first edition of
this guide by Lisa Romano.
Staff time to research and design this
guide was partially funded by the American
Recovery and Re-investment Act. USDA
Forest Service is an equal opportunity em-
ployer and provider.
Westfield River Watershed
Invasive Species Partnership

You can help spot and stop invasive species!

Don’t let insects hitch rides on firewood. Only use local wood.
Don’t plant invasive species in your garden, and be on the lookout
for new plant invasions in or near forests.
Be sure to thoroughly inspect, clean and dry any item being trans-
ported from one water body to another. All it takes is a single drop
of water to spread algae!
First Edition; Revised August 2010
Our Environment’s Health in Jeopardy Winged Euonymus/
Burning Bush
In southern New England, as in much of the United States, the arrival of Euonymus alatus
invasive species has dramatically changed many of our ecosystems. And A deciduous shrub growing 5
as new species make their way to our region, the threat of further eco- to 10 feet tall. Many
logical and economic damage is increasing. Invasives can kill valuable stemmed, opposite stems
trees and crowd out native vegetation that wildlife depend on. Invasive
species have already altered the composition of our natural areas in the
east. Once a dominant species, American chestnuts have been virtually
eliminated from our forests due to an invasive pathogen that continues and leaves, with corky wings
to kill all but the youngest chestnuts. along its gray-brown to green
stems. Leaves are 1 to 3 inches
New invasive species pose ongoing threats to long and elliptic, dark green,
our forests, fields and rivers. Some, like Japa- finely toothed and nearly with-
nese barberry, have already arrived and out stalks. Foliage often turns
will likely have big impacts in the future. bright crimson in autumn. Small,
Others, like the Asian long-horned beetle, four-parted greenish flowers ap-
are in the vicinity, but have yet to be- pear in early summer. Fruits are red-purple capsules that split open to

come widespread, thanks in large part to reveal four red fleshy seeds in late summer. Status: Widespread
major eradication efforts. throughout NY, MA and CT.

How You Can Help Yellow Flag Iris

Iris pseudacorus
Early detection is the most effective and A large perennial growing in
least costly way to deal with invasive spe- clumps, with lance-shaped leaves
cies. When they are caught early, invasive often longer than stems. Flowers
species can usually be controlled. If you spend bright yellow at the end of long
time outside, whether gardening, hunting, fishing, exploring your own stalks. Invades wet areas and is
land or enjoying public land, you can be a key player in early detection toxic to grazing mammals.
of and rapid response to invasive species. Status: Widespread throughout
NY, MA and CT.
By educating yourself on invasive species and keeping an eye out for
them when you’re working on your property, walking in a local park, or
hiking in the forest, you can make a major contribution to our environ-
ment’s health.
How To Use This Guide
Some of the most economically and environmentally damaging invasive
species in and near southern New England (CT, MA, NY, and RI) are
Water Chestnut listed in this booklet. After each species, you’ll find an icon that lists
Trapa natans
what to do if you see that species. For some species that have not
An aquatic floating plant
yet become widespread, it is critical that if you see that species or
that forms thick mats.
think you have seen that species, you share that information. For
Leaves float in rosette
other species that have been widespread for a long time, actions
formation on water sur-
might include removing the plant from your yard, volunteering to
face and are triangle
help remove it from a park or simply making sure you don’t intro-
shaped, and sharply
duce it to new areas.
toothed. In addition to looking for the species listed in this booklet, there are
Submerged leaves are feathery. Flowers other easy-to-spot signs that might also signal an outbreak. A plant
are small, white, with four petals and that has suddenly become more abundant, dead or dying trees in
appear in mid-summer through fall. conditions that don’t seem quite right (e.g., a tree that looks
Fruits are woody, nut-like, with two to drought-stricken in a wet summer) or swaths of dead or dying trees
four stout barbed spines. of all one species while other species appear healthy can all be signs
Status: Patchy distribution in NY, MA that something new has made its way into the environment and is
Leslie Mehrhoff and CT. altering its ecology. If you see any of these signs, note what seems
unusual and your location, and consult the resources listed below
and on the back cover.

Explanation of Icons
Tell someone. This is considered an early detection species, one that
Wild Parsnip
Pastinaca sativa
has not yet become established and may be eradicated if early action is
taken. If you think you have found this species, make a note of the date and
An herb that may grow over 4 feet
place and contact the resources listed on the back of this booklet. You can
tall. Rosette close to the ground also report sightings of invasive plants to the Invasive Plant Atlas of New
bears leaves up to 6 inches in England (IPANE) at
height. Leaves along stem are alter- earlydetection/sightings.jsp. Report pest and pathogen sightings at
Joseph DiTomaso, UC Davis,

nate, compound, pinnately-

divided, and toothed. Thick, edible report_pest_disease.shtml.
taproot and thick, erect stem bear-
Can be controlled (especially if in small amounts), which may be an ap-
ing many umbrella-shape clusters
propriate course of action. Talk to land manager or, on your own land,
of small yellow flowers.
consider removing via an effective method. Information on effective
Status: Patchy distribution control of most species can be found at
throughout NY, MA and CT.
Additional notes: If plant juices This species may already be well established and widespread, but cau-
come in contact with skin, which is tion should be taken to not spread it further. Options include asking the
then exposed to sun, rash may land manager about control, being careful not to spread it further (don’t move
firewood, especially important for pests; clean boots, boats, waders; don’t
plant), removing it from your own land or keeping tabs on its distribution.
Michael Bohne,
Rock Snot/Didymo
Asian Longhorned Beetle Didymosphenia geminata
Anoplophora glabripennis A microscopic alga that invades rivers
A large (.75 – 1.5 inches long) beetle with and streams. Forms mats up to 8
black and white banded antennae that are 1 inches thick on stream beds and river
– 2 times the body length. Body is shiny black bottoms. Often found on river rocks
with conspicuous white spots in an irregular and can look like wet toilet tissue.
pattern. Feet and antennae may have blue Feels like wet cotton, is not slimy and
tinge. Creates perfectly round 3/8 inch or is brown, tan or yellow.
larger diameter exit holes in deciduous trees, Status: Present in VT and NH.
especially maples. Additional notes: People recreating

Penn State Extension

Source of damage: Tunneling of larvae on bodies of water are major cause of
disrupt flows of nutrients, eventually leading to die- spread of didymo. Check boats, buck-
back of crown and death of tree. ets, boots and anything else that has
Dennis Haugen, USFS,

Status: Infestations found in central MA and New touched the water, clean with soapy
York City. Risk of high economic impacts. water and dry thoroughly before
transferring to another water body.

Michael Shephard USFS,

Tansy Ragwort
Senecio jacobaea
An herb growing 8 inches to 3 feet
tall with tough, purple-tinged
stems. Alternate leaves egg-shape,
Emerald Ash Borer
Agrilus planipennis
deeply lobed, and toothed along
Small metallic green beetle margin. Lower leaves stalked, upper
approx. 1/2 inch long with David Cappaert, MSU, leaves nearly unstalked with lowest
narrow body. Abdomen copper red or purple. Creates distinctive D- lobe clasping stem. Yellow flowers
shaped exit holes in ash trees. stalked and in clumps. Toxic to
Source of damage: Larval con-
Toby Petrice, USFS,

sumption of inner bark disrupts

water and nutrient flows, lead- herbivores and
U. of Wisc Extension

ing to tree death. Larvae cre- livestock.

ate characteristic S-shaped Status: Patchy distri-
tunnels beneath bark. bution in eastern and
Status: Widespread through- central MA and
out northeast west of MA to Maine.
Midwest. Risk of high economic
impacts. Paul A. Graham
Oriental Bittersweet Gypsy Moth
Celastrus orbiculatus Lymantria dispar

John H. Ghent, USFS,

A climbing deciduous, woody vine or occasion- A small, indistinct moth. Easily confused with
ally low shrub. Leaves alternate, on short stalks, other tent caterpillars. Males drab with feath-
round to egg shaped, and bluntly toothed. Clus- ery antennae, females flightless and cream-
ters of small greenish flowers along stems colored with thread-like antennae. Caterpillar
found early sum- up to 2 inches long, gray or black with five pairs
mer. Fruits in of blue spots, followed by six pairs of red spots
late summer to on their back, along with a thin yellow line
early fall with down the length of back.
clusters of yel- Source of damage: Caterpillar infestations can
result in major defoliation events in wide vari-
capsules containing red ety of trees and shrubs, especially
fleshy berry-like fruits inside. oaks.
Status: Widespread throughout NY, MA Status: Widespread throughout
and CT. NY, MA and CT. Risk of moder-
Additional notes: Native American bit- ate economic impacts; biocon-
tersweet is differentiated by its flowers trol has the potential to keep
and fruits growing only at ends of insects at low impact levels. stems. John H. Ghent, USFS,

Purple Loosestrife
Lythrum salicaria Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
A wetland herb growing 1.5 to 5 feet tall. Adelges tsugae
Stems are angular and hairy. Leaves are Tiny, aphid-like insects wrap themselves in a distinctive white, waxy or
opposite and narrowly lance shaped. Ma- cottony protective covering, which can be found on undersides of
genta flowers appear in numerous tight hemlock twigs, where needles attach (particularly noticeable in spring).
clusters at ends of stems in mid to late Source of damage: In-
summer. sects feed on sap of
John M. DiTomaso, UC Davis,

Status: twigs, causing needles

Widespread to dry out and fall off.
throughout Multiple years of defo-
NY, MA and liation and/or toxins in
CT. adelgid saliva lead to
Additional tree death.
notes: Possibly Status: Widespread
confused with rare, native Winged throughout NY, MA
Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station,
Loosestrife, which has single or paired and CT. Risk of high
flowers along stems where leaves con- ecological impacts.
Multiflora Rose
Sirex Woodwasp State Forests of New South Wales
Rosa multiflora
Sirex noctilio
A deciduous shrub with many
A large (1 – 1.5 inches long) insect
arching stems growing up to 10
with a dark, metallic blue or black
to 15 feet tall. Stems are red to
body. Black antennae. Orange legs,
green with scattered, broad
black feet. Males have orange
middle section and black back legs.
Creates round 1/8 – 3/8 inch di-
ameter exit holes in pine trees and
possibly other softwoods.
Source of damage: Females drill into trees to lay

Ontario Natural Resources eggs, while injecting a toxic mucus and fungus based, downward-pointing
into the tree, leading to tree death within a thorns. Leaflets are elliptic and
few weeks or months. sharply toothed. Fringed stip-
Status: Present in NY and VT. Risk of moder- ules (extra vegetative growth)
ate economic impacts; significant potential
adhere to leaf stalks. Large clus-
impacts in southeastern U.S. pine plantations. ters of white to pinkish, 5 petaled flowers appear in early summer.
Small red rose hips containing seeds appear in late summer, becoming
leathery and persisting on plant through winter.
Status: Widespread throughout NY, MA and CT.
Winter Moth
Operophtera brumata Narrow Leaved Bitter-cress
A moth that is active between Cardamine impatiens
November and January, often A narrow, erect, herbaceous plant that can
congregating at lights in large grow up to 2 feet in height. Compound, pin-
numbers. Small, (males with 1 inch nately divided leaves with pointed mem-
wingspan, females nearly wingless) brane where leaf connects with
Roger Childs, and drab colored, with rear edge of stem. Small white Leslie Mehrhoff, UConn,

wings somewhat fringed. Larvae are flowers from

small (up to 1 inch long), pale green inchworms with white stripe down May to Au-
Leslie Mehrhoff, UConn,

each side. Active April through June. gust. Fruit is

Source of damage: Young larvae burrow slender pod
into buds to feed, while older larvae feed that opens
on mature leaves. Large infestations can to project Leslie Mehrhoff, UConn,
result in major defoliation events. seeds, with
Status: Present in coastal New England. transparent center membrane remaining.
Risk of high economic impacts; Status: Patchy distribution in CT, NH, VT and
potential biological controls currently be- ME.
Wash. State U. Extension
ing evaluated.
David J. Moorhead, UGA,
Japanese Stiltgrass Beech Bark Disease
Microstegium vimineum Cryptococcus fagisuga & Nectria coccinea var. faginata
A lime green grass with weak stems Beech bark is damaged by a scale insect,
usually growing in dense, low mats, followed by infection by a fungus. Normally
occasionally up to 40 inches tall. Small smooth, gray bark of uninfected beech

John M. Randall,

hairs fringe stem where leaves connect. becomes pocked with numerous cankers,
Leaf blades are lance-shaped with a eventually leading to cracks and deforma-
silvery stripe of reflective hairs down tion of trunk and finally tree death.
middle of top side. Clumps of grass Status: Widespread throughout NY, MA
resemble tiny stands of bamboo. and CT. High ecological impact.
Status: Patchy distribution throughout
NY, MA and CT.


Manfred Mielke, USFS,

John M. Randall, TNC,
Butternut Canker
Sirococcus clavigignenti-juglandacearum
Mile-a-Minute Vine Cankers caused by a fungus on butter-
Polygonum perfoliatum nut trees form elongated, sunken
Jennifer Forman Orth
An herbaceous, patches, usually on main stem, but
climbing vine
with branching
stems and
many down-
ward pointing
also throughout tree. Can-
curved thorns,
kers often have dark black
which are pale center, with a wide white
green when young, turning reddish
with age. Triangle-shaped leaves are
Status: Widespread
alternate with long stalk appearing from leaf-like sheath encircling
throughout NY, MA and CT.
stem. Small, greenish flowers appear tightly clustered at stalk ends.
Risk of high ecological im-
Green berries becoming iridescent blue with maturity.
Joseph O’Brien, USFS, pacts, including extirpation
Status: Patchy distribution in NY, MA and CT.
of species. Japanese Honeysuckle
Sudden Oak Death Lonicera japonica
Phytophthora ramorum
A woody vine that twists
Seeping cankers, caused by
around other trees and
a fungus, usually in lower

Joseph O’Brien, USFS,

shrubs. Leaves are oblong or
trunk that leave brown
oval, though sometimes may
or dark red stains on
be lobed, taking on an oak-
bark of oak trees. After
leaf appearance. Leaves
one or several years of
infection, crown dieback
begins, leading to tree
death within a few weeks.
Pathogen can live and travel appear in opposite pairs
on dozens of non-oak host along stem and may remain
species sold in nurseries. green through a mild winter.
Status: Widespread throughout western US, not yet present in New Flowers are white to pink,
England; risk of high economic impacts in New England. yellowing with age, are quite
fragrant, and appear in pairs
along stems. Fruits are fleshy
and black, containing two to
Black Swallow-Wort three seeds each.
Status: Patchy distribution throughout NY, MA and CT.

Cynanchum louiseae
An herbaceous vine with unbranched stems
that wrap around other vegetation. Stems
Japanese Knotweed
Polygonum cuspidatum
exhibit milky latex when broken. Leaves are
An upright, perennial herb with
opposite, egg-shaped, and shiny. Purple-black
hollow shoots and swollen
flowers appear in clusters growing from stalks
nodes, similar to bamboo.
arranged where leaves meet stem. Fruits ap-
Leaves broad (up to 6 inches
pear in elliptic pods, similar to those of milk-
long, 4 inches wide), with
weed. Toxic to Monarch butterflies.
pointy “drip-tip”. White or
Status: Patchy distribution
throughout NY, MA and CT. Jennifer Forman Orth
Additional notes: Similar to the
invasive Pale Swallow-wort and
several non-invasive swallow- green clusters of flowers appear in
worts, including honeyvine. late summer. Extensive under-
ground rhizome makes manual
control very difficult.
Status: Widespread throughout NY,
MA and CT, particularly near water.
Morrow’s Common Reed/Phragmites
Shrub Honeysuckles Phragmites australis
Lonicera spp. A large grass growing 6 to 13 feet tall, form-
Several simi- ing dense colonies, and retaining
lar species previous

Gail Eichelberger

are inva- season’s leaves
sive: Amur, at base.
Morrow’s, Leaves are
Tartarian, long (up to 20
and Bell’s. inches) and
Leaves lance-shaped.
opposite and Large feathery
lance-shaped or
flowers at
elliptic, stems and twigs hollow, flowers white ends of stalks are purplish in mid- to late
or pale pink and fragrant. summer, turning brown to tan when ma-
Status: Widespread throughout NY, MA and CT. ture. Status: Widespread throughout NY,
Additional notes: Native bush honeysuckles look MA and CT, particularly in wet areas.
quite similar but have solid stems and twigs. Additional notes: Very similar native sub-
species americanus.

Japanese Barberry
Berberis thunbergii Dame’s Rocket
Dense, deciduous shrub Hesperis matronalis
growing 2 – 6 feet tall. An erect herb growing 1.5 to 3
Single thorn at each leaf feet tall. Leaves alternate along
node. Leaves alternate stem, lance to egg shaped,
and spatula shaped. Flow- sharply toothed and hairy.
ers are yellow and hang in
clusters from stems where
leaves attach. Bright red,
elliptical berries hang from Lower
leaves on long stalks, upper narrow stalks in late summer to leaves on very short or no
early fall. stalks. Purple, pink, or white
Status: Widespread throughout fragrant flowers are clustered
NY, MA and CT. at ends of stems with four
Additional notes: Common petals each. Fruits are long,
barberry (B. vulgaris), which has slender pods (2 to 4 inches
toothed leaf margins, is also long) containing a row of seeds on each side. Invades floodplains.
invasive. Status: Widespread throughout NY, MA and CT.
Garlic Mustard Glossy Buckthorn
Alliaria petiolata
Frangula alnus
An upright deciduous shrub or
small tree with gray brown bark
that is smooth and visibly
speckled. Seedlings with wine-
red roots. Leaves 1 to 2.5
inches long, alternate, varying
from egg-shaped to oblong to
An edible herb with a garlicky
odor and taste, 1-3 feet tall. In
elliptical. Leaves dark green, shiny,
first-year plants, leaves heart- or
with nearly parallel veins and
kidney-shaped and in a rosette close to the ground, remaining green
smooth edges. Small fleshy berries
through winter. Mature plants with kidney-shaped lower leaves and
appear in late summer to early fall
triangular alternate upper leaves, coarsely toothed. Clusters of small,
and change from red to black.
white four-petaled flowers appear in early spring. Seed pods slender.
Status: Widespread throughout
Status: Widespread throughout NY, MA and CT.
NY, MA and CT.
Giant Hogweed
Heraclem mantegazzianum Julie Richburg
A very tall, biennial or peren-
Aegopodium podagraria
nial herbaceous plant that
MA Department of Agricultural Re-

A creeping herb 12 to 40 inches tall.

can grow 10-15 feet in height. Lower leaves on extended stalk with
Compound leaves with 3 nine egg-shape, toothed leaflets. Upper
deeply incised leaflets. White leaves on short stalks with only three
flowers on umbrella-shaped leaflets. Small, white, five-
flower heads from mid-May to petaled
July, reaching 2.5 feet in di-
ameter. Fruit is dry and ellip-
tical. Produces toxic
sap that can
cause pain-
ful, burning flowers on stalks and arranged
blisters. in umbrella-shaped clusters.
Status: Status: Widespread throughout
Patchy dis- NY, MA and CT.
tribution in
CT, MA, and NY.
Julie Richburg

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