Do Not Plant List

These are introduced invasive plants that are displacing the native plants that are the basis of our ecosystem. If you want to help support declining populations of songbirds, bees, butterflies, frogs, etc, do not install these plants!

Use Control-F to search for a specific plant.

Scientific name Common names Remove Comments Type
Acer platanoides Norway maple yes Kills the undergrowth. A real problem.Can completely take over a wooded area.Plant black gum (Nyssa sylvatica)or a native oak or maple instead. tree
Aegopodium podagraria goutweed, herb gerard, bishop’s weed, snow in the mountain, ground-elder yes If you let the smallest part of this lovely plant into your garden, it will totally take over and be impossible to eradicate.Plant wild ginger (Asarum canadense) instead. ground-cover
Ailanthus

altissima

tree-of-heaven,

Chinese sumac, stinking sumac, varnish tree

yes Damages sewers and structures, threatens agricultural and natural ecosystems.Plant serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) or redbud (Cercis canadensis) instead. tree
Ajuga reptans & cultivars bugleweed, carpet bugle yes Jumps out of your garden into your lawn. Can be kept under control in gardens but should be removed near natural areas. Its purple flowers in the lawn may look pretty in the spring, but slowly it will replace your grass with its flat broad leaves. perennial
Akebia quinata fiveleaf akebia, chocolate vine yes Will overrun and smother other plants. Plant trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) instead. vine
Albizia julibrissin mimosa, silk tree Plant redbud (Cercis canadensis) or fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus) instead. tree
Ampelopsis breviped- unculata porcelain berry, amur peppervine yes A real problem. Remove. vine
Artemisia vulgaris mugwort perennial
Arundo donax giant cane grass
Berberis

thunbergii

Japanese

barberry

yes  

Large stands displace native species. Plant New Jersey tea  (Ceanothus americanus) or Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica) instead.

shrub
Buddleja davidii (Buddleia) butterfly bush yes Not every variety is invasive, but if you don’t know which you have, you should remove it. Plant Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica) or summersweet (Clethra anilfolia) instead shrub
Callicarpa

dichotoma &

C. japonica

Asian

beautyberry

yes Replace with the American version. shrub
Cardiospermum halicacabum balloon vine, love in a puff vine
Celastrus

orbiculatus

oriental

bittersweet

yes Thick masses of vines sprawl over

shrubs, trees and other plants,

girdling them or shading them out.

There is a native bittersweet, but it is

often mislabeled in nurseries or

has crossed with its invasive cousin.

vine
Cercis

chinensis

Chinese

redbud

shrub
 

Clematis

dioscoreifolia (aka

C. maximow-

icziana,

C. paniculata and

C. terniflora)

 

sweet

autumn
clematis

yes A huge nuisance in the

garden as well as in the woods.

Its seedlings will sprout up everywhere.

vine
Convallaria majalis lily-of-the-valley perennial
Coronilla

varia

Crown vetch perennial
Cytisus

scoparius

Scotch broom Plant bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica) instead. shrub
Deutzia scabra fuzzy deutzia shrub
Egeria densa Brazilian

water-weed

Popular for aquariums,

but multiplies and clogs waterways.

aquatic
Elaeagnus

angustifolia

Russian or Oleaster olive yes  

All of these spread
and form huge thickets.

Plant bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica),

silky willow (Salix sericea),

witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana),

or a native viburnum instead.

 

shrub

 

 

 

 

Elaeagnus

pungens

thorny

elaeagnus

Elaeagnus

umbellata

autumn olive, Japanese silverberry, umbellate oleaster yes
Eragrostis

curvula

weeping lovegrass Plant muhly grass

(Muhlenbergia capillaris) instead.

grass
 

 

 

Euonymus

alatus

 

 

 

burning bush

 

 

 

yes

 

 

Threatens forests, coastal scrublands, and

prairies where it forms dense thickets;

multiplies rapidly.

Plant highbush blueberry

(Vaccinium corymbosum) or

fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica) instead.

 

 

 

shrub

Euonymus

europaeus

European spindletree shrub
Euonymus

fortunei

wintercreeper euonymus yes Crowds out the native understory,

smothers small shrubs and trees

vine and ground-cover
 

Fallopia
japonica,
also known as

Polygonum cuspidatum

 

knotweed,

fleece flower

yes Ruins stream banks. perennial
Festuca elatior (F. pratensis) tall fescue grass
Firmiana

simplex

Chinese parasol tree tree
Galium

odoratum

sweet woodruff, wild baby’s breath ground-cover
Hedera helix English ivy yes  

Forms an impenetrable mat,

crowding out other species.

Climbs up trees and eventually kills them.

Plant golden ragwort (Packera aurea),

creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera),

or an evergreen fern instead.

 

vine and ground-cover
Hemerocallis fulva orange
daylily
yes  

You can eradicate these by

mowing them until they die out.

Plant Turk’s cap lily (Lilium superbum) instead.

 

perennial
Hesperis

matronalis

dame’s rocket Often found in seed mixes.

Plant summer phlox (Phlox paniculata) instead.

biennial
Hibiscus

syriacus

Rose of Sharon yes Remove baby plants that sprout around it.

Plant scarlet mallow

(Hibiscus coccineus) instead.

shrub
Hyacinthoides hispanica Spanish

bluebells

perennial
Imperata

cylindrica

Japanese

blood grass, blady grass, cogon grass, kunai grass

yes Highly invasive; needs to be replaced. grass
Ipomoea

coccinea

red morning glory, redstar, Mexican

morning glory

vine
Ipomoea

purpurea

purple, tall,

or common morning glory

A big nuisance in your garden. vine
Iris

pseudacorus

yellow flag, yellow iris yes Once it invades wetlands, it is impossible

to eradicate. Highly invasive

and should be eliminated.

Plant blue flag iris (Iris versicolor) instead.

 

perennial
Lagerstroemia crepe myrtle A developing threat. shrub
Lamiastrum galeobdolon yellow

archangel

yes Lovely groundcover, but uncontainable. vine
Lespedeza

bicolor

shrubby

lespedeza

shrub
Ligustrum amurense amur privet yes Privets form dense thickets

that displace native species.

Plant black haw (Viburnum prunifolium)

or pawpaw (Ascina tribola) instead.

shrub
Ligustrum

obtusifolium

border or blunt-leaved privet yes
Ligustrum

ovalifolium

California

privet

yes
Ligustrum sinense Chinese

privet

yes
Ligustrum

vulgare

European or common privet yes
Liriope spicata creeping liriope  

Plant purple lovegrass (Eragrostis spectabilis),
Pennsylvania sedge (Carex pensylvanica),

or blue-eyed grass

(Sisyrinchium angustifolium) instead.

Liriope muscari is not invasive, but you cannot always be sure which liriope you are getting.

 

ground-cover
Lonicera x bella showy bush

honeysuckle

 
Lonicera

 fragrantissima

sweet breath of spring vine
Lonicera

japonica

Japanese

honeysuckle, including ‘Hall’s

honeysuckle’ cultivar

yes Extremely difficult to eradicate.

It will strangle other plants

by coiling around them.

Leafs out earlier than most

natives and forms dense thickets

that are too shady for most natives.

Dense growth impedes reforestation efforts.

If you want a shrub, plant

winterberry (Ilex verticillata) or

spicebush (Lindera benzoin) instead.

If you want a vine, substitute

scarlet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens),

passionflower (Passiflora incarnata),

or Carolina jessamine

(Gelsemimum sempervirens).

 

vine
Lonicera

maackii

Amur

honeysuckle

yes shrub
Lonicera

morrowii

Morrow’s

honeysuckle

yes shrub
Lonicera

standishii

Standish’s

honeysuckle

yes vine
Lonicera

tatarica

Tatarian

honeysuckle

yes vine
 

Lotus

corniculatus

birdsfoot trefoil Plant yellow wild indigo

(Baptisia tinctoria) instead.

perennial
Lunaria

annua

money plant  

Alba variegata is okay, but do

not plant the type with pink flowers.

 

biennial
Lysimachia clethroides gooseneck

loosestrife

ground-cover
Lysimachia nummularia creeping Jenny,

moneywort

yes Aggressive. Remove. ground-cover
Lythrum

salicaria and Lythrum

virgatum

purple

loosestrife and

European wand loosestrife

yes Horrible threat to the environment. Crowds

out cattails, which are needed by various birds.

Plant gayfeather (Liatrus spicata)

or ironweed (Veronia noveboracensis) instead.

perennial
Mahonia

bealei

leatherleaf

mahonia

yes At the least, remove the

berries before the birds eat them.

shrub
Melia

azedarach

Chinaberry Plant devil’s walking stick

(Aralia spinosa) instead.

tree
Melilotus

officinalis

yellow

sweet clover

 

Plant Culver’s root

(Veronicastrum virginicum) instead.

 

grass
Miscanthus sinensis maiden grass, Chinese

silvergrass

Cultivars may be less invasive,

but this grass is highly flammable and

should not be planted next to buildings

or where there can be danger of fire.

Plant switchgrass (Panicum virgatum),

Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans),

or little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) instead.

grass
Morus alba white

mulberry

 

Plant sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana),

hackberry (Celtis occidentalis),

black gum (Nyssa sylvatica),
or sassafras (Sassafras albidum) instead.

 

tree
Myriophyllum aquaticum parrot’s feather Clogs waterways. This is often sold

as an aquarium plant or by pond suppliers.

It’s okay as long as it is kept in your pond and

not where it can get into any other body of

water. Never throw it in streams,

rivers, or natural ponds.

aquatic
Nandina

domestica

nandina Yes  

You can control spread

by removing all the colorful berries, but that defeats one of the purposes of growing it.

Plant leucothoe instead.

shrub
Oenothera

speciosa

pink ladies, pink sundrop, pink evening primrose, Mexican primrose, showy

evening

primrose, amapola

ground-cover
Pachysandra terminalis Japanese pachysandra, Japanese spurge Invades forests.

Plant native coral bells

(Heuchera villosa) instead.

ground-cover
Paulownia

tomentosa

princess,

empress,

foxglove tree

yes Invades forests, stream

banks, and some rocky habitats.

tree
Pennisetum alopecuroides
black-flowered cultivars like ‘Moudry’
black

flowered

fountain grass

Plant muhly grass

(Muhlenbergia capillaris) instead.

grass
Perilla

frutescens

beefsteak plant, perilla mint, Chinese basil, wild basil,

purple mint, rattlesnake weed, summer coleus

yes Pushes out native plants; poisons cattle.

Plant bee balm (Monarda didyma) or

mountain mint (Pycnanthemum muticum)

instead.

annual
Phalaris

arundinaceae

reed canary grass, ribbon grass yes Plant switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) instead. grass
Phellodendron amurense Amur

corktree

tree
Phleum pratense Timothy grass
Phragmites australis common reed yes Degrades wetland wildlife habitat. grass
Phyllostachys species bamboo yes Your neighbors will hate you forever as

it invades their property, and little short

of a nuclear weapon can eliminate it.

To add insult to injury, it is highly

flammable and therefore a fire hazard!

Plant giant reed (Arundinaria gigantea) instead.

 

shrub
Polygonum cuspidatum aka

Fallopia

japonica

knotweed or fleece flower yes The jointed stems resemble bamboo.

Plant goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus) instead.

perennial
Populus alba white poplar Plant bigtooth aspen (Populus grandidentata)

or sweet birch (Betula lenta) instead.

tree
Prunus

subhirtella

Higan

cherry

tree
Pyrus

calleryana

Callery pears (including

Bradford pear)

yes  

Crowds out other species.

Spreads far and wide when birds eat the seeds.

Plant serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis),
fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus),

or native crabapple (Malus coronaira) instead.

 

tree
Quercus

acutissima

sawtooth oak Plant any native oak, hickory, or beech instead. tree
Ranunculus ficaria lesser

celandine

yes Serious threat.

Plant green and gold

(Chrysogonum virginianum) or

spring beauty (Claytonia virginica) instead.

perennial
Rhodotypos scandens jetbead  

Plant ninebark

(Physocarpus opulifolius) instead.

 

shrub
Rosa

wichuraiana

memorial rose shrub
 

Salix alba and its hybrid S. × sepulcralis

 

white willow and weeping willow Plant black willow (Salix nigra) instead. tree
Securigera

varia

crown vetch, purple crown vetch ground-cover
Spiraea

japonica

Japanese spirea,

meadowsweet

yes Spreads fast, shades out natives.

Plant ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius),

sweet pepperbush (Clethra anilfolia), or

Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica) instead.

shrub
Ulmus pumila Siberian elm  

Plant winged elm (Ulmus alata)

or hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) instead.

 

tree
Viburnum

dilatatum

linden

viburnum

yes There are too many other good viburnums,

native and non-native, to keep this one around.

shrub
Viburnum

plicatum

double-file

viburnum

shrub
Viburnum

sieboldii

Siebold’s

viburnum

shrub
Vinca minor

and

Vinca major

periwinkle, creeping myrtle yes ground-cover
Vitex

agnus-castus

chaste tree Plant bottle-brush buckeye

(Aesculus parviflora) instead.

shrub
Vitex

rotundifolia

beach vitex shrub
Wisteria

sinensis and floribunda

Chinese and Japanese

wisteria

yes Climbs up and kills trees

by girdling them. Remove.

Plant American wisteria

(Wisteria frutescens) instead.

vine