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January Weed of the Month: Resources for Invasive Plant Identification and Management

Winter is a good time to brush up on plant identification

Invasive plants are non-native and cause harm. Many invasive plant species in Minnesota are regulated as noxious weeds. Most of us encounter invasive plants in our communities when we are out recreating or working outdoors. Fortunately, there are resources to help us identify and manage invasive plants.

Basic invasive plant identification, regulation, and management:

• The Minnesota Department of Transportation's online book "Minnesota Noxious Weeds" is helpful for learning about priority invasive plant species in our state.

• New York Botanical Garden's online book "Mistaken Identity? Invasive Plants and their Native Look-Alikes" uses photographs and simple guidance to highlight visual differences between invasive and similar looking native plants.

• The Minnesota Department of Agriculture's Noxious Weed List has links to individual species pages with summary information and pictures. University of Minnesota Extension has an Identify Invasive and Non-Native Species page, with links to many additional resources.

• For control and management information, see the Invasive Plant Control Database by the Midwest Invasive Plant Network.

Resources for invasive plant botany:

• Minnesota Wildflowers' website and app are helpful plant identification tools.

• The Flora of North America is a valuable resource and even has a page enabling species identification comparisons.

• Minnesota's state botanist, Welby Smith, authored excellent books on plant identification that include invasive species, particularly in the book "Trees and Shrubs of Minnesota." This book is available in the public library system.

Invasive plant mapping websites and apps:

iNaturalist and EDDMapS are interactive websites and apps that have identification and distribution information. iNaturalist includes native plants as well. Their apps are free to download in the Google Play and Apple App stores.

Winter is a good time of year to brush up on plant ID and plan invasive plant control projects. The above resources and the many other available books, websites, and videos will be helpful for invasive plant identification and management.


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