Invasive Plants

volunteers remove plants
Students volunteering for invasive plant removal.

Natural resource managers consider invasive species one of the biggest threats to the health of natural habitats. Active control of these plants is necessary to keep national parks a refuge for native plants and animals.

What is a non-native invasive plant species?
Non-native plants are plants growing in an area where they do not naturally occur. Non-native plants have been brought to North America from other continents for use in agriculture, gardening, erosion control, and medicine, or simply by accident. For more information see the Invasive Plants site bulletin.

Many non-native plants are considered invasive. Invasive plants have the following characteristics: they reproduce rapidly, spread over large areas of the landscape, and have few, if any, natural controls, such as herbivores and diseases, to keep them in check. These plants displace native plants and may disrupt the local balance of nature. For example, Japanese honeysuckle may crowd out native shrubs, eliminating songbird habitat. Some native plants have also become invasive due to habitat changes caused by human land use.

Which plants are considered invasive in Cuyahoga Valley National Park?
Currently, 16 non-native plants are considered to be invasive within the park. These plants invade a broad range of habitats, from forests and meadows to wetlands and disturbed roadsides. Click on the common names for more information about each plant.

Scientific Name Common Name
Elaeagnus umbellata autumn olive
Rhanmus cathartica, R. frangula buckthorns
Lonicera maackii, L. morrowii, L. tatarica bush honeysuckles
Phragmites australis common reed
Alliaria petiolata garlic mustard
Berberis Thunbergii Japanese barberry
Lonicera japonica Japanese honeysuckle
Polygonum cuspidatum Japanese knotweed
Rosa multiflora multiflora rose
Typha angustifolia narrow-leaved cattail
Ligustrum vulgare privet
Lythrum salicaria purple loosestrife
Phalaris arundinacea reed canary grass

Where can I find more information?
More extensive information about invasive species on public lands is available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In addition, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has invasive plant fact sheets specific to this state.

How are we addressing the invasive plant problem?
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is developing a volunteer-based, long-term exotic plant monitoring and controlling program. This program features the adoption of sections of the park by volunteers who are trained to look for and control invasive plants. It is a great chance for volunteers to experience the lesser known areas of the park while helping to conserve our native plant communities. If you are interested in participating in this program visit our volunteer page.

Last updated: January 30, 2019

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