trees Invasive Plant Resources


Last Updated March 15, 2006

This section contains Indiana 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 Indiana.
[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)
    • Glossy buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula)
    • Japanese stilt-grass (Microstegium vimineum)
    • Eurasian bush honeysuckles (Lonicera) spp. --L. tatarica, L. maackii, L. morrowii, L. x bella)
    • Privet (Ligustrum spp.)
  • Widespread Invasives. Plants found in forests in much of the state.
    • Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
    • Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora)
    • Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
    • Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)
    • Reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea)
    • Japanese hops (Humulus japonicus)
    • Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum)
    • Dame's rocket (Hesperis matronalis)
    • Winter creeper (Euonymus fortunei)
    • Burning bush (Euonymus alatus) Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
    • Moneywort (Lysimachia nummelaria)
    • Creeping charlie (Glechoma hederacea)
  • Localized Invasives. Plants found only in limited areas of the state.
    • Periwinkle (Vinca spp.)
    • Black swallow-wort (Vincetoxicum nigrum)
    • Common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
    • Kudzu (Pueraria lobata)
    • Chinese yam / air potato (Dioscorea oppositifolia)
    • Princess tree (Paulownia tomentosa)
  • Future Threats. Species that could become serious problems in the future. These plants are invasive in other states with similar climatic and ecological zones.
    • Pale swallow-wort (Vincetoxicum rossicum)
    • Mile-a-minute vine (Polygonum perfoliatum)
    • Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)

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 Indiana 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: Invasive Plant Species Assessment
Contact: Ellen Jacquart ( ), The Nature Conservancy
Websites : (Invasive plants brochure for Indiana )
Species tracked: Invasive plant species
Description: A group of concerned agencies and organizations formed the Invasive Plant Species Assessment Working Group (IPSAWG) and developed an assessment tool to measure which intentionally introduced plant species pose the greatest threat to Indiana 's natural areas. Based on the assessment results, specific recommendations are made for each invasive species. The members of IPSAWG then incorporate those recommendations into policies and regulations.

Title: Indiana 's “Top 5” Invasive Plant List
This list was developed in 2004 by staff of the Indiana DNR Division of Forestry. Each person listed five plants they considered the worst invasives in their part of the state. For example, 19 people listed Tree-of-heaven among the five worst species in their area. Some plants on the list pose no threat to forests and are marked with an asterisk*.

  • Tree-of-heaven ( Ailanthus altissima ) 19
  • Autumn olive ( Elaeagnus umbellata ) 18
  • Eurasian bush honeysuckles ( Lonicera spp.) 17
  • Multiflora rose ( Rosa multiflora ) 17
  • Japanese honeysuckle ( Lonicera japonica ) 14
  • Garlic mustard ( Alliaria petiolata ) 10
  • Kudzu ( Pueraria montana ) 6
  • Japanese stilt grass ( Microstegium vimineum ) 5
  • Tall fescue ( Festuca elatior ) 4
  • Oriental bittersweet ( Celastrus orbiculatus ) 2
  • Periwinkle ( Vinca spp.) 2
  • Amur cork tree ( Phellodendron amurense ) 1
  • Amur maple ( Acer ginnala ) 1
  • Burning bush ( Euonymus alatus ) 1
  • *Canada thistle ( Cirsium arvense ) 1
  • Common buckthorn ( Rhamnus cathartica ) 1
  • Glossy buckthorn ( Frangula alnus ) 1
  • Japanese barberry ( Berberis thunbergii ) 1
  • Japanese hops ( Humulus japonicus ) 1
  • Japanese knotweed ( Polygonum cuspidatum ) 1
  • *Johnson grass ( Sorghum halepense ) 1
  • Reed grass ( Phragmites australis ) 1
  • Privet ( Ligustrum spp.) 1
  • Purple loosestrife ( Lythrum salicaria ) 1
  • Reed canary grass ( Phalaris arundinacea ) 1
  • Chinese bushclover ( Lespedeza cuneata ) 1
  • Winter creeper (Euonymus fortunei) 1

3. Funding and Cost Share Programs for Invasive Plant Control

  • Urban Forest Conservation Grants
    Urban Forest Conservation (UFC) Grants are intended to help communities develop long term programs to manage their urban forests. Recipients may conduct any project that improves and protects trees and other associated natural resources in urban areas. Community projects that target program development, planning and education are emphasized. Projects funded in the past include conducting tree inventories, developing tree maintenance and planting plans, writing tree ordinances, conducting programs to train municipal employees and the public, purchase or development of publications, books and videos, hiring consultants or city foresters, etc. Certified Tree Cities may spend up to 20% of the grant funds on demonstration tree planting projects.
    Eligibility : Local municipalities, not-for-profit organizations and state agencies are eligible to apply for $2,000 to $20,000.
    Contact : Division of Forestry, Urban Forestry Program, 6515 E. 82nd St., Suite 204 ,
    Indianapolis , IN 46250 , E-mail:

    Indiana Classified Forest Program
    The Classified Forest Program is designed to keep Indiana 's private forests intact by allowing landowners with at least 10 acres of forest to set the land aside to remain as forest. In return for meeting program guidelines, landowners receive property tax breaks, forestry literature and periodic free inspections by a professional forester while the forest is enrolled in the program. The Classified Forest Act requires the classified forest owner to follow minimum standards of good timber management as prescribed by the Department of Natural Resources, and follow a written management plan that is approved by the district forester. The plan must be approved by a professional forester in consultation with and signed by the owner. In addition, it must adequately describe the present condition of the forest, prescribe a plan of action that will meet the objectives of the owner and the classified forest land program.
    Contact: your local district forester
    Website: (under private landowner assistance in left column).

    Indiana Forest Land Enhancement Program
    This program is administered by the Indiana DNR Division of Forestry and may provide cost-share for invasive species control on private land.
    Contact: Local DNR forester, or Hal Brockman, National Program Manager, USDA Forest Service, Cooperative Forestry, Washington, DC, Phone: (202) 205-1694, E-mail: hbrockmanfs.fed. us
    Website : or contact your state forester.

4. State Weed Laws

    (Applicable Indiana state code numbers in parentheses)

    Noxious Weeds (IC 15-3-4.6-2)
  • Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense)
  • Johnson grass (Sorghum halepense) and Sorghum almum(a possible hybrid between Johnson grass and cultivated sorghum (S. bicolor).
  • Bur cucumber (Sicyos angulatus)
  • Shattercane (Sorghum bicolorspp . drummondii)
  • Plants of regulatory concern (Plants managed by law in Indiana )
  • Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) (IC 14-2412-7)
  • Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) (IC 14-24-12-5)
  • Johnson grass (Sorghum halepense ) (IC 15-3-5-1)
  • Wild hemp / marijuana (Cannabis sativa) (IC 15-3-4.6-1)
  • Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense)
  • Bur cucumber (Sicyos angulatus)
  • Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense)
  • Shattercane (Sorghum bicolor spp. drummondii)
  • Sorghum almum
  • Bur cucumber (Sicyos angulatus)

For more information on Indiana weed laws see DNR listing of jurisdiction and legislation on exotic and invasive plants:

5. Links to State Forestry and Invasive Plant Groups

6. Contacts

  • Indiana DNR Private Landowner Assistance Page, provides links to district and professional foresters in Indiana . This page is the DNR Forestry Homepage, click on Private Landowner Assistance on left column.
  • For information about the Division of Forestry, its policies or programs, contact:
    Indiana Department of Natural Resources
    Division of Forestry
    402 W. Washington St. , Room W296
    Indianapolis , IN 46204-2739
    (317) 232-4105
  • Invasive plant and/or forestry contacts in the state

    Ellen M. Jacquart, Director of Stewardship
    The Nature Conservancy, Indiana Field Office
    1505 N. Delaware St. #200 , Indianapolis , IN   46202

    Kate Howe, Midwest Invasive Plant Network Coordinator
    The Nature Conservancy, Indiana Field Office
    1505 N. Delaware St., #200 , Indianapolis , IN 46202
    (317) 951-8818, Web:

    Ron Rathfon, Extension Forester
    Purdue University , Dept. of Forestry & Natural Resources
    12000 Purdue Farm Rd. , Dubois , IN 47527
    (812) 678-5049,

    Zach Lowe, Project Manager
    Purdue University ; Invasive plant and restoration management
    (765) 494-9730,