P.O. Box 5274
Madison, WI 53705-0274
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Invasive Plantsare non-indigenous species or strains that become
established in natural plant communities and wild areas, replacing native
Weedsare undesirable and
troublesome plants growing in disturbed areas, especially cultivated ground.
Potentially Invasive Plants(for Wisconsin) are species that are invasive
in parts of North America having similar climates and plant communities, and
that are thought to have the potential to colonize and become invasive in
Sometimes Invasive Nativesare
native plants that can become overly abundant in a plant community to which they
are indigenous, often in response to a change in the disturbance regime.
Indigenousmeans occurring naturally in a specific area or plant
community; not introduced.
If you look up the word "weed" in a reference such as
Dictionary.com, you'll find rather benign definitions about unwanted plants
in cultivated areas such as gardens or farm fields.
But if you look up the word "invasive," you'll find it defined in terms of
cancerous growths or military forces!
Both a weed and an invasive plant are "plants out of place," but an invasive plant
encroaches into forests, roadsides, and prairies where it is unchecked by the
devotions of an obsessive backyard gardener. The ramifications of invasive
plants are so much more ominous than that of weeds because they can and do
destroy the natural diversity of native vegetation.
Ironically, many invasive plants get their foothold through well-meaning
gardeners who introduce the species as a lovely accent to their patch of
paradise. However, many of these plants come from foreign lands and do not have
the natural controls that a native plant has. Soon the nonnative plant takes
over - first the garden and then, by propagating via the wind, through deep-set
runners and by the cooperation of willing birds carrying the seeds, more distant
There are many plants that are invasive in
Wisconsin. To ease you into an awareness of invasive plants without overwhelming
you, IPAW has developed a list of Wisconsin's
Worst foreign invaders.
We'll also help you contain the
enemy when you find it - see "What Can I Do?"
When you are ready, our "Links" page will give you many
more avenues for information about invasive plants.
What the Heck Is An Invasive Plant?
Plant List (pdf)
Interactive Plant List
A Role for Native Weeds
Regional and County Groups
Order the "Betty" book
Multimedia & Publications
Calendar of Events
Orgs & Agencies
Searchable Web Resources
Report Form (PDF)
Bits & Pieces