Invasive and aggressive plants

Here are some common invasive and aggressive plants that we have growing in our meadow.  If you see them, feel free to pull them out at their root if possible or cut it down as close the base.



Cleavers, which may be native to North America (although this is debated), but is aggressive.  It is very sticky and can cause a mild skin reaction upon contact, so be sure to use gloves when removing.

Pokeweed, which is native but very aggressive.  It can also be hard to differentiate it from the very beneficial butterfly weed.

Non-native thistle, which can be hard to distinguish from native thistle, but as the linked resource says, if you answer yes to any of these questions then it’s likely non-native:

  • Is the thistle spiny along the entire length of the stem? (a YES answer indicates Italian thistle, slenderflower thistle, Scot’s thistle, or bull thistle)
  • Are the bracts triangular, firm, and spine-tipped? (a YES answer indicates Italian thistle or slenderflower thistle)
  • Are the bracts thick, and leathery, and jagged? (a YES answer indicates milk thistle)
  • Are the roots rhizomatous (sends out roots that new sprouts grow from)? (a YES answer indicates Canada thistle)

Any vines, including English ivy (left), Porcelain berry (right), and others

Any woody trees, which may be native, but don’t belong in a meadow and can quickly out-compete meadow plants.  They can often be hard to pull from their roots, but using loppers, cut as close to the base of the plant.