7 Surprising Facts About Invasive Plants

Learn about invasive plants like purple loosestrife and kudzu and why you should remove them from your yard.

1.What Makes a Plant Invasive?

Barry Winkler/GETTY Image Invasive Dame rocket Invasive plants have two features. These nonnative plants impact humans, the environment, and the economy. Your backyard may host one of these shocking invasive blooms.

2. Invasive Plant Damage Is Costly

Alaska's first freshwater invasive plant is Elodea. A 2-inch stem clipping starts it growing and choking native plants. Disrupting vegetation and water quality might cost Alaskan sockeye salmon $159 million annually,    

3. Don’t Leave Purple Loosestrife!

Many invasives spread quickly. The attractive yet invasive purple loosestrife generates 2.7 million seeds annually. American and Canadian gardeners struggle with purple loosestrife, a beautiful European and Asian flower. It outperforms wetland species.  

4. Invasive Plants Are Difficult to Remove

The Pacific Northwest's Himalayan blackberry thickets are impassable at 500 canes per square yard. It is hard to control and eliminate, especially by ripping up its roots like many native plants.  

5. Russian Thistle Spread Across the Southwest

Russia thistle, or tumbleweed, covers much of the south-west US.Russian thistle (“tumbleweed”) came in the U.S. in 1873. The rapid spread was unplanned. It infests 100 million acres, predominantly south-west.

6. Some Invasive Plants Are Harmful to Human

Many invasive plants hurt the environment, but giant hogweed harms people. The toxic sap on its 5-foot leaves blisters in sunlight. If giant hogweed contacts your skin, wipe it off immediately.  

Kudzu Vine Grows Extremely Fast

Summer kudzu vines grow 1 foot daily to 100 feet. This vine dominates the south, therefore some call it “the vine that ate the South”. Unfortunately, it was planted to hinder erosion.


Giant Hogweed, NYSDEC. Minnesota DNR, Purple Loosestrife King County, WA Himalayan blackberry identification and control Nature Conservancy: "Kudzu: The Native Vine That Ate the South" NPS:

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