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September 7, 2010

Pocket-sized books provide information for identifying and controlling invasive plants

MADISON - A new field guide is available to help people identify and control invasive plants in Wisconsin. A Field Guide to Terrestrial Invasive Plants of Wisconsin provides photographs, identification and control information, as well as resources for more information for 58 invasive plant species that disrupt wetlands, grasslands and forests, as well as home gardens and yards.

Invasive Plant field guide
A Field Guide to Terrestrial Invasive Plants of Wisconsin

The Department of Natural Resources forestry and endangered resources programs developed the new pictorial guide to help people learn to identify and control some of the invasive species that are covered by an invasive species control rule Wisconsin adopted last year, according to Tom Boos, who coordinates DNR control efforts for forest invasive plants.

The new rule, Chapter NR 40, Wis. Admin. Code, classifies invasive species as either restricted or prohibited. For both groups of species it is illegal to transport, transfer (including purchase or sale) or introduce them.

Species classified as restricted are already widespread and landowners are not required to control them. Restricted plants include many that are well known and despised, such as buckthorn, bush honeysuckle, garlic mustard, spotted knapweed, Canada thistle, wild parsnip and phragmites.

Prohibited species are those that are not yet established in Wisconsin with the exception of small pioneer stands. Wherever they are found, DNR staff, partners and volunteers hope to contain these new invaders before they can become widespread and cause extensive damage. Most of these plants are not as well known, at least in Wisconsin. A sampling includes Japanese stilt grass, giant hogweed, poison hemlock, kudzu and mile-a-minute vine.

The field guide will help people to learn to identify all of these plants, and it also provides details on methods for successful control as well as recommendations for minimizing the spread of invasives.

The Field Guide to Terrestrial Invasive Plants of Wisconsin (pdf; 6.7 mb) is available in portable document format on the DNR website and printed copies are for sale via an online order form or by calling 608-267-5066. Single copies are $5 plus shipping, with discounts for large purchases.

When a new population of a prohibited invasive plant is found, citizens are asked to report the infestation and to help control it if possible. Prompt reporting to the DNR can help to prevent the plants from going to seed and spreading further. Reporting can be done by calling 608-267-5066 or emailing Where possible, photographs and/or samples of the plant should be collected to aid in identification.

"The public's help in reporting stands of the prohibited classification of invasive species is greatly appreciated," Boos says. "This resource will aid people in identifying and controlling of any prohibited species so that we can work together to keep new invaders out of Wisconsin."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Boos (608) 266-9276; Bryn Scriver, invasive species specialist (608) 267-5066

Last Revised: Tuesday, September 07, 2010

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