trees Invasive Plant Resources


Last Updated March 15, 2006

This section contains Illinois specific information related to invasive plants in forests. Below are lists of problem species, invasive plant monitoring projects, financial assistance programs, state laws, plus links and contacts for more information on invasive plants and organizations within the state. Please let us know if you have suggestions for changes, additions or updates. We need your help to keep this section current and informative. Contact WDNR Forestry (

Return to the Forest Invasive Plants homepage for species factsheets, federal funding sources for management & control, all-states listing of monitoring/mapping projects, research articles & publications, and more.

  1. Current (and Future) Invasive Plants
  2. Invasive Plant Projects (monitoring, mapping, inventories)
  3. Funding and Cost-share Programs for Invasive Plant Control
  4. State Weed Laws & Regulations
  5. Links to State Forestry and Invasive Plant Groups
  6. Contacts

1. Current and Future Invasive Plants

Note: This list is ranked, approximately, from greatest to least threat in Illinois .
[If underlined, click to see factsheet for that species.]

  • Worst Invasives. Species currently causing the greatest problems in Illinois forests.
    • Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
    • Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata)
    • Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)
    • Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
    • Privet (Ligustrum) spp.) (L. vulgare) and others)
    • Eurasian bush honeysuckles (Lonicera) spp. --L. tatarica, L. maackii, L. morrowii, L. x bella), and others)
    • Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
    • Trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)
    • Japanese stilt-grass (Microstegium vimineum)
    • White mulberry (Morus alba)
    • Princess tree (Paulownia tomentosa)
    • Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum)
    • Bradford pear (Pyrus calleryana)
    • Glossy buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula)
    • Common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
    • Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
    • Multiflora rose (Rosa) multiflora)
    • Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila)
  • Widespread Invasives. Plants found in forests in much of the state.
    • Amur maple (Acer ginnala)
    • Norway maple (Acer platanoides)
    • Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
    • Virgin's bower (Clematis terniflora)
    • Reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea)
    • Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei)
    • Burning bush (Euonymus alata)
    • Dame's rocket (Hesperis matronalis)
    • Moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia)
    • Osage orange (Maclura pomifera)
    • White poplar (Populus alba)
    • Japanese wisteria (Rehsonia floribunda)
    • Chinese wisteria (Rehsonia sinensis)
    • Jetbread (Rhodotypos scandens)
    • Hedge-parsley (Torilis arvensis, T. japonica)
    • Chinese yam (Dioscorea oppositifolia)
  • Localized Invasives. Plants found only in limited areas of the state.
    • Kudzu (Pueraria lobata)
    • Japanese hops (Humulus japonicus)
  • Future Threats. Species that could become serious problems in the future. These plants are invasive in other states with similar climatic and ecological zones.
    • Mile-a-minute vine (Polygonum perfoliatum)
    • Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)
    • Sawtooth oak (Quercus acutissima)

2. Invasive Plant Inventories

Most states have one or more ongoing projects for inventorying, monitoring or mapping invasive plants. These may be state-sponsored or managed by private organizations and groups, and may cover plants statewide or in a specific area. We encourage the sharing of information among these groups to achieve a more complete understanding of invasive plants in each state.

Known projects in Illinois are listed below. Please see also the All-States Invasive Plants Projects & Resources section for a complete list for each state as well as multi-state and nationwide initiatives. We invite additions or corrections to this information – please contact WDNR Forestry (

  • Title:)Kudzu and Chinese Yam Eradication Programs
    • Contact: Jody Shimp (, (618) 435-8138
    • Geographic area: Illinois
    • Species tracked: Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) , Chinese Yam (Dioscorea oppositifolia)
    • Description: Illinois DNR in cooperation with many other agencies and organizations is trying to locate, map, eradicate and monitor ALL sites in the state of kudzu and Chinese yam.
  • Title: Inventory ofCelastrus orbiculatus (Oriental bittersweet) Invasions in Southern Illinois
    • Contact: Jody Shimp (, (618) 435-8138
    • Geographic area: Southernmost 10 counties in Illinois
    • Species tracked: Oriental bittersweet
    • Description: Assess existing informal accounts of C. orbiculatus sightings, vouchers and field reconnaissance and generate a digital map of verified locations.
  • Title: Shawnee National Forest - Invasive Plant Inventory and Mapping
    • Contact: David Gibson (, (618) 453-3231, Department of Plant
    • Biology, Southern Illinois University, 405 Life Science II, 1125 Lincoln Dr., Carbondale, IL 62901-6509
    • Website:
    • Geographic area: Eleven-county area around the Shawnee National Forest, Illinois
    • Species tracked: Invasive plants
    • Description: SIU-Carbondale is conducting an inventory of non-native plants that occur in the counties in which the Shawnee National Forest is located. The project is compiling a database of all non-native plant records using herbarium records, literature sources and personal knowledge of experts. When complete, this database will be queried to provide maps of non-native plant distributions and records of infestation as a guide for future management.
  • Title: New Invaders Watch Program
    • Contact: Debbie Maurer (, Lake County Forest Preserve District, and Karen Tharp (, The Nature Conservancy
    • Website:
    • Geographic area: Chicago Region, including far Southeastern Wisconsin and Northwest Indiana
    • Species tracked: Invasive plants and insects
    • Description: This early detection and rapid response program targets 15 plant and 2 insect species and is implemented through partnerships among volunteers, agency and nonprofit organization staff. The website provides users with information on potentially exotic invasive species in the Chicago region, plus an online reporting form and database. Email alerts notify landowners when new populations are verified on their property. Participants can monitor and report new populations of target species, verify reports (herbarium staff only), view recent reports made by others, and implement and provide information on control efforts (Rapid Response Network).
  • Title: Chicago Botanical Garden Weed Risk Assessment
    • Contact: Lara Jefferson ( and
    • Kayri Havens (
    • Website:
    • Geographic area: Northern Illinois
    • Species tracked: All garden species assessed
    • Description: Chicago Botanical Garden researchers have set up a system of weed risk assessments to review existing species in the gardens or species proposed for introduction. This involves running each species through the assessment models.

3. Funding and Cost Share Programs for Invasive Plant Control

  • Illinois Conservation 2000 (C2000) Program
  • The C2000 Ecosystems Program project grants are submitted through Ecosystem Partnerships and are awarded annually on a competitive basis. The program accepts proposals in the following categories: habitat restoration, land acquisition/easement, education/outreach, planning, research, and resource economics. Any project located within the boundaries of an Ecosystem Partnership is eligible for C2000 funds. Deadline for applications is February.
  • Eligibility : Projects must be broad-based, locally-organized efforts, incorporating the interests and participation of local communities, and of private, public and corporate landowners.
  • Contact: Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
  • Website:
  • Natural Resources Grant Opportunities in Illinois
  • State Wildlife Grants - (SWG)
  • State Wildlife Grant funds are provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to every U.S. state and territory to support cost effective conservation aimed at keeping wildlife from becoming endangered. In Illinois, the program is administered by the I-DNR Office of Resource Conservation. Projects should address priorities in the state’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan, including wildlife protection and stewardship, improvement of land and water resources and applied wildlife research, monitoring, evaluation and data management. Contact: IDNR Watershed Protection Section, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL.
  • Contact: IDNR Watershed Protection Section, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271, phone (217) 785-8266, e-mail
  • Website:
  • Rural Forest Landowner Assistance
  • This program provides technical assistance to Non-Industrial Private Forest landowners to manage their forests for multiple resources. In addition, cost-share assistance is available for landowners to implement forest stewardship practices. This program has been developed to assist and encourage landowners to become good land stewards, achieve land management objectives, and maintain ecological processes. The program produces clean air and water, sustainable rural forests, sustainable economic development, improved forest health, restored ecological processes, and enhanced wildlife habitat and populations. Note: funds may be limited for invasive plant control.
  • Contact: Your local DNR forester
  • Urban and Community Forestry
  • This program provides technical and financial assistance to the 2,000 cities and towns in Illinois, helping them build community capacity to manage natural resources. Program goals are accomplished by engaging local citizens in tree planting, care and protection activities, and the development of comprehensive natural resource management plans. The Urban and Community Forestry Program helps achieve community sustainability and enhances the quality of life by improving and maintaining the health of trees and other related natural resources. Note: funds may be limited for invasive plant control.
  • Contact: Your local DNR forester

4. State Weed Laws

  • Illinois Exotic Weed Act
  • Conservation (525 ILCS 10/) - Illinois Exotic Weed Act. The Illinois Exotic Weed Act makes it unlawful to buy, sell, offer for sale, distribute, or plant seeds, plants or plant parts of listed exotic weeds in Illinois . State of Illinois exotic weeds:
    • Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
    • Multiflora rose (Rosa) multiflora)
    • Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
    • Common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
    • Glossy buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula),
    • Saw-toothed buckthorn (Rhamnus arguta),
    • Dahurian buckthorn (Rhamnus davurica),
    • Japanese buckthorn (Rhamnus japonica),
    • Chinese buckthorn (Rhamnus utilis)
    • Kudzu (Pueraria lobata)
  • Illinois Noxious Weed Law
  • Section 220.60 - Noxious Weeds
  • State of Illinois noxious weeds include one forest invasive: Kudzu (Pueraria montana ). Other prohibited weeds are Marijuana (Cannabis sativa), Giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifida), Common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia), Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense), Perennial sowthistle (Sonchus arvensis), Musk thistle (Carduus nutans) and Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense).
  • Website:
  • For a complete listing of the Illinois Noxious Weed Law Statutes see:

5. Links to State Forestry and Invasive Plant Groups

6. Contacts

  • Forestry
  • Illinois DNR District Foresters Offices
  • Technical assistance for landowners (by Regional Forest Resources Offices)
  • Invasive plant and/or forestry contacts
  • Jody Shimp, Regional Administrator, Illinois DNR
  • 11731 State Hwy 37, Benton, Il 62812
  • Phone (618)435-8138
  • Email
  • Ben Dolbeare, Conservation Coordinator, Illinois DNR
  • One Naural Resources Way, Springfield , IL 62702-1271
  • Phone (217) 785-8688
  • Email
  • Debbie Maurer, New Invaders Watch Program Lake County Forest Preserve District
  • Email,
  • Website: