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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Do Not Sell! Ornamental Invasive Plants to Avoid with Climate Change

Thursday, October 13, 2022
Butterfly Bush

Climate change is likely to bring dozens of new invasive plants to the Northeast. Despite their invasive tendencies, many of these species are sold as ornamental plants in slightly warmer climates, but are not yet a large part of nursery sales in the Northeast. In this new handout from the Northeast Regional Invasive Species and Climate Change  Management Network (RISCC), researchers identify key invasive ornamental plants to avoid selling so our native ecosystems will be protected from future invasive species impacts. The document also recommends alternative native plants that provide similar aesthetics while also supporting biodiversity.

RISCC's "Do Not Sell" list includes non-native plants that are invasive in other regions of the U.S. and which are currently offered for sale in at least 5 U.S.-based wholesale, retail and/or online nurseries. These species have well-documented negative ecological impacts and will have suitable habitat in vulnerable Northeast ecosystems with future climate change. The "Do Not Sell" species are not yet part of the ornamental plant trade throughout the Northeast, so we have an opportunity to prevent or reduce their introduction. In other words, these are the problematic species that are coming our way, vectored by the horticulture industry. Learning to recognize and avoid these species now in favor of native alternatives will provide ecological and climate-smart benefits.