Ten Most Wanted Invasives

Poison Ivy Patrol is always on the case to serve justice to these known criminals.  We have custom tools and strategies for each invasive plant we find in our path.  We know their strengths and use their weaknesses against them.  Some villains are more difficult than others, but they will all fall in the end. 

 These are the Ten Most Wanted Criminals that are at large and lurking in your neighborhood.

 Click on the links to learn more about these alien plants.

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1. Wild Grape (alias Vitis Spp): Grape vine’s knobby, flaky vines don’t hug a tree like Poison Ivy does. They hang away from the trunk and pull down the branches of the tree as it reaches skyward. Up at the top of the tree it uses its long, spiral tendrils to hang onto leaves and branches.  This is where Grape flourishes, growing much faster than the tree itself, stealing the sunlight and weighing down the branches… READ MORE

2. Bittersweet (alias Celastrus orbiculatus): Oriental Bittersweet and Wisteria have similar characteristics. Bittersweet has berries and rounded oblong, serrated leaves, while Wisteria has pointed, ruffled, serrated leaves. They both spiral up the trees and tighten around the trunk like a tourniquet, cutting off the flow of nutrients and strangling the tree. Oriental bittersweet reproduces by seed and rhizome. The seeds are… READ MORE

3. Wisteria (alias Wisteria sinensis): There are actually two types of Wisteria; Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) and Japanese Wisteria (Wisteria foribunda). An interesting fact is that Chinese Wisteria twists clockwise around objects in its path, while Japanese Wisteria twists counterclockwise. It doesn’t really matter, they are both wanted for strangling trees, destroying native habitats and climbing up everything in… READ MORE

4. Barberry (alias Berberis thunbergii DC): Barberry is a dense, round, thorny shrub that grows 2 to 6 ft. high. In early April to May, tiny pale yellow flowers hang in clusters along the length of the stem. Many people have been seduced by its autumn shades of red, orange and purple, and its bright red winter berries. You’ve seen this invader. It’s the first to leaf out in the spring, beating all the native understory to the sunlight… READ MORE

5. Wild Rose (alias Rosa Multiflora): Wild Rose has thorny canes that arch out from the plant and then send up new shoots when they come in contact with soil. In this way she escapes captivity simply by “walking” across a field or woods. If she is under a tree, new canes rise from the older ones and climb sometimes 40 ft up a tree, reaching for sunlight, and pulling the top down with the weight. Rose steals sunlight from the… READ MORE

6. Asian Honeysuckle (alias Lonicera morrowii): The Hudson Valley is home to both native and non-native species of Honeysuckle. They both appear very similar. You can distinguish between them by looking at the stems. Native honeysuckles have solid stems while invasive honeysuckles have hollow stems. You will rarely see a native honeysuckle though, because they have been almost completely wiped out by the alien species. … READ MORE

7. English ivy (alias Hedera helix): English ivy looks nice climbing up the side of your house, but if left unchecked, its potential for escape is notorious. English ivy looks nice climbing up the side of your house and provides great ground cover that you don’t have to mow, but if left unchecked will spread to the neighbor’s yard or the forest. Its evergreen leaves smother other native forest plants by denying them light… READ MORE

8. Stiltgrass (alias Microstegium vimineum): Japanese Stiltgrass escaped into the United States in the early 1900’s and is currently wreaking havoc from New York to Florida. Stiltgrass has been known to frequent back yards, stream banks, floodplains, moist woodlands, and roadsides. It favors soils that are acidic or neutral and grows well in many light conditions. Once Stiltgrass gets a foothold, it quickly becomes a…. READ MORE

9. Mugwort (alias Artemisia vulgaris): Mugwort is one of the most common invasive herbs in the New York region. Unless your yard is carefully landscaped you are almost certain to have it. Mugwort spreads by growing horizontal roots or runners, near the surface of the soil. It also reproduces by seeds that travel great distances by wind and water. The plant is easily identifiable by pulling off a piece of it and mashing it with your fingers… READ MORE

10. Garlic Mustard (alias Alliaria petiolata): OK, so there’s 11. Stiltgrass moved up in the ranks and pushed Garlic Mustard out of the 10 Most Wanted List. Garlic Mustard is still very pervasive and like Mugwort is probably in your yard right now, so we’re still including it here.  Garlic Mustard takes two years to fully mature and produce seeds. Seeds germinate in February to early March and grow into a short rosette… READ MORE


Of course, we come across more than 10 invasive species on a regular basis. Here is a brief list of some other invasive plants we have brought to justice.

Forsythia  (alias Vahl forsythia)
Autumn Olive (alias  Elaeagnus umbellata Thunb)
Virginia Creeper  (alias Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
Pokeweed (alias Phytolacca americana)
Burning Bush (alias Euonymus alata)
Black Swallow-wort (alias Cynanchum louiseae)
Mile a Minute Weed (alias Persicaria Perfoliate)
Hog Peanut (alias Amphicarpaea bracteata)
Raspberry  (alias Rubus phoenicolasius Maxim)
Sumac (alias  Rhus glabra)

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