Have more questions about invasive plants or worried about invasives on your property? Contact Natural Resource Manager Mike Losey at 248-846-6508 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
What is an invasive plant?
The National Invasive Species Management Plan, developed in response to Executive Order 13112, defines an invasive species as“a species that is non-native to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.” For the purposes of this field guide, non-native species are those that did not occur in Michigan’s ecological communities prior to widespread European settlement. Only a small fraction of the hundreds of non-native plants that have evolved elsewhere and been brought to Michigan are invasive. The few that are, however, can be very aggressive and spread rapidly once established. In our native forests, grasslands, wetlands and dunes, they pose a threat to management goals by displacing native species or altering ecosystem processes. It is these harmful non-native species that are the focus of this field guide.
Impact of non-native invasive plants
Impacts of non-native invasive plants Invasive species are a significant threat to Michigan’s native biodiversity and their impacts are wide-ranging. They are aggressive competitors, often dominating an ecosystem and reducing native diversity dramatically. They have effective reproductive and dispersal mechanisms; many are capable of spreading by rhizomes and some can produce new plants from tiny root or stem fragments. Many store energy in extensive root systems and can sprout back repeatedly after cutting. Most invasive plants produce abundant fruit and seeds that are widely dispersed and remain viable in the soil for years. Some invasive shrubs and trees create dense shade, preventing the growth of native herbs beneath them. They often leaf out early in spring and retain leaves late into the season, gaining as much as an extra month of productivity compared to some of their native associates. Some species secrete chemicals that inhibit the growth of neighboring plants or beneficial soil fungi. Invasive plants simplify ecosystem structure, and may alter site hydrology, nutrient cycles or patterns of natural disturbance, such as fire regimes.
Courtesy of Michigan State University's "Field Identification Guide to Invasive Plants in Michigan’s Natural Communities"
Invasive Plant Resources
- Michigan Department of Natural Resources
- Midwest Invasive Species Information Network
- North Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy
- Status of Invasive Plants in Michigan
- U.S. Department of Agriculture