Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - November 26, 2012

From: New York City, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives
Title: Most invasive, noxious plant in U.S. from New York City.
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I was wondering, what is the most invasive/ noxious plant in the U.S? Thanks in advance.

ANSWER:

The most invasive/noxious plant in the U.S. is the one in your yard, or in a nearby nature preserve, or waters where you like to fish and boat. They are almost invariably introduced,  non-native plants that were brought in from Asia or Europe with good intentions, for groundcover or lumber or just as an ornamental. Sometimes the invasive arrives in your area as a stowaway seed in a shipment of seeds, perhaps grass seeds, from a foreign country. If the seeds or imported plants find favorable climate but no animals or insects that will graze those plants they will prosper. Left in their natural habitat, over the millennia, the plants and the grazers or the humans searching for fuel will reach some sort of natural balance. Invasiveness or noxiousness is in the eye of the beholder. We will try to find some references to noxious and/or invasive plants in the New York area, and perhaps some others in other parts of the U.S. that just haven't managed to spread to your area yet, or for which your climate is not favorable.

An article from the United States National Arboretum details the following plants as being outstanding invasives: Lythrum salicaria (Purple Loosestrife), native to Europe, Asia, and Australia, Ailanthus altissima (Tree of Heaven), native to China and Taiwan, and Hedera helix (English Ivy), native to Asia and Europe, as being outstanding leaders in the North American invasives field. Each plant link will take you to additional information on that plant.

To focus in a little more on invasive plants in your area, here is an article from the Cornell University Ecology and Management of Invasive Plants Program.

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

How to get rid of devils club (Oplopanax horridus)
November 22, 2007 - please tell me how to get rid of devils club!!!
view the full question and answer

How to combat weeds growing in mulch
September 12, 2008 - Trying to decide on either ground cover plants, or some type of gravel. We have a new house where the builder has planted small shrubs in the full sun flower bed next to house. The bed has mulch at th...
view the full question and answer

Care for iceplant in Hawaii
October 25, 2008 - Good morning Mr. Smarty Plants( I love the name) I live in Hawaii and have iceplant on the hill behind my house. Its established pretty well.I weed it often. How much water do I need and how can I get...
view the full question and answer

Invasive phragmites from New Egypt NJ
July 30, 2011 - I have some wetland near a road. It has been taken over by phragmites. How is the best way to remove these grasses and add some diversity to this area. The area in question is approx. 100 by 30 feet.
view the full question and answer

Keeping non-native invasive bermudagrass out of yard in Austin
May 30, 2012 - My neighbor just sodded a huge lawn with Bermuda Celebration. I don't want it coming into my St. Augustine. From what I've read on your site and others, I need a deep barrier. Has anyone tried pu...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.