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 Non-Natives Questions

Failing to thrive of non-native rose bushes in Austin
September 24, 2012 - I live in NW Austin and I have lost one knockout rose bush this summer and it looks like another one is failing. The leaves on a cane turn yellow then brown. I do not see whiteflies or black spots o...
view the full question and answer

Invasive, non-native Paulownia
May 03, 2006 - Hi. We would like to plant a fast growing tree that will provide shade for our house. What do you think of the Paulownia tree (Empress Tree) as a possibility for the Austin area? If this is not a g...
view the full question and answer

How to grow a non-native rue plant in Duncanville TX
March 15, 2010 - Can I grow a Rue plant from a clipping? If so, what do I need to do? Please explain step by step. I'm new to all of this. Thanks
view the full question and answer

Non-native squash plants wilting in Austin
May 31, 2010 - My squash plants were looking really healthy with only some yellow leaves which I was removing and this morning the plants just seemed to fall over. Lots of wilting and some of the branches are fallin...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating straggler daisy from St. Augustine grass in Hochheim TX
May 14, 2010 - I have straggler daisy in my St. Augustine grass. What herbicides work well on straggler daisy and won't ding up the grass too bad?
view the full question and answer

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