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Invasive Plants

Read more about some of Mississippi's most harmful invasive plants, including where they came from, the threats they pose, and the control methods used to mitigate them.

Congograss

Cogongrass

Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) is an invasive, non-native considered to be one of the Top 10 Worst Weeds in the World. Its dense stems and rooting system choke out other vegetation.

Popcorn Trees

Chinese Tallow Tree

Also known as the Popcorn Tree, the Chinese Tallow Tree is one of the top 10 most invasive plants in Mississippi. Popcorn trees spread like wildfire, overtaking native vegetation, damaging wildlife habitats, and destroy nature’s balance. Popcorn trees have distinct, heart-shaped leaves, dangling yellow flowers, and fruit that looks like popcorn.

Kudzu

Kudzu is a climbing, semi-woody, perennial vine in the pea family that kills other plants by smothering them under a blanket of leaves and by breaking branches or uprooting entire trees and shrubs through the sheer force of its weight.

Japanese Climbing Fern

The Japanese Climbing Fern is a perennial viney fern, climbing and twining to 90 feet (30 m) long, with lacy, finely divided leaves along green to orange to black wiry vines, often forming mats of shrub- and tree-covering infestations.

Japanese/Glossy and Chinese/European Privet

Privet is commonly used as a hedge and is capable of invading natural areas such as floodplain forests and woodlands. Privets out-compete desirable plants by aggressively forming dense thickets.

Japanese Honeysuckle

The Japanese Honeysuckle is a rapid grower that can quickly out-compete native species for light, space, and nutrients. Instead, plant native alternatives like Coral honeysuckle, and several others.

Bradford Pear

The Bradford or Callery Pear’s uniform shape, profuse white flowers, and bright red fall foliage made it a much-planted ornamental tree throughout the southeast. For many years the trees were sterile, not producing fruit. But in the 2000’s they began to cross-pollinate and produce abundant amounts of fruit that were spread by birds.

Tree of Heaven

Tree of Heaven has a remarkable ability to clone itself through root suckering and its tolerance and adaptability to various site and soil conditions, which gives this species a dominating, competitive edge over many native species.

More Information

For more information about invasive plant species in Mississippi, email comments@mfc.ms.gov.