Invasive Plant Information for Vermont:
Alternatives to Upland Quarantined Invasive Species

In the interest of protecting natural habitats, how do we control invasive plants that may spread from our yards and gardens? The solution is a combination of strategies: removing invasive plants, preventing spread from existing infestations, and using alternative plants.
Invasive plants are species that are introduced into new areas, where, free from their natural competitors, they can proliferate, persist, and spread to native natural habitats. In April of 2002 the Vermont Legislature passed the Plant Quarantine Rule, which made it illegal to 'sell, distribute or transport' certain invasive plants. In an effort to assist gardeners who wish to curb the invasives in their own backyards, the Vermont Invasive Exotic Plant Committee (IEPC) put together the following list of non-invasive garden substitutes for quarantined species. We recommend the use of plant material native to Vermont, propagated from local genetic stock whenever possible for plantings in or near natural habitats. See also the References for Native Plant Gardening listed below the table.

KEY: (VT) = Vermont native plant; (NA) = North American native plant; (NE) = New England native plant

Please be aware that some of these plants are easier to grow than others. Never remove plants from the wild!

Quarantined Species Common and (Scientific) names Alternative (Indicates plants' native origin)
  • Bell Honeysuckle (Lonicera x bella)
  • Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii)
  • Morrow Honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii)
  • Tartarian Honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica)
  • Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum) (VT)
  • High-bush Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum) (VT)
  • Silky Dogwood (Cornus amomum) (VT)
  • Virginia Rose (Rosa virginiana) for bank stabilization function (VT)
  • Winterberry cultivars (Ilex verticillata) (VT)
  • Witherod (Viburnum cassinoides) (VT)
  • Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
  • Glossy Buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula) ~ syn. Fen Buckthorn, Alder Buckthorn

  • Allegheny Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis) (VT)
  • Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) (VT)
  • American Hornbeam, Musclewood (Carpinus caroliniana) (VT)
  • Nannyberry Viburnum (Viburnum lentago) (VT)
  • Shadblow Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) (NE)
  • Witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana) (VT)
Common Reed (Phragmites australis)
  • Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) (VT)
  • Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor) (VT)
  • Bluejoint grass (Calamagrostis canadensis) (VT)
  • Bulrushes (Scirpus spp.) (VT)
  • Freshwater Cordgrass (Spartina pectinata) (VT)
Flowering Rush (Butomus umbellatus)
  • Indian Grass (Sorgastrum nutans) (VT)
  • Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) (VT)
  • Variegated Cordgrass (Spartina pectinata cvs. oreo marginata) (VT)
Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) Foam Flower (Tiarella cordifolia) (VT)
Goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria L.)
~ syn. Bishop's Weed
  • Mulch - as an alternative to plants that protect tree bases
  • Canada Anemone (Anemone canadensis) (VT)
Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
  • Dutchman's Pipe (Aristolochia macrophylla) (NA)
  • Trumpet Honeysuckles (Lonicera sempervirens) (Gleason and Cronquist) (NE)
  • Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans) (NA)
Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica) ~ syn. Mexican Bamboo
  • Elderberries (Sambucus spp.) (VT)
  • Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) (NE)
  • Pussy Willow (Salix discolor) (VT)
  • Red-Stemmed dogwood (Cornus sericea) (VT)
Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) ~ syn. Asiatic Bittersweet
  • American Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) (VT)
  • Dutchman's Pipe (Aristolochia macrophylla) (NA)
  • Trumpet Honeysuckles (Lonicera sempervirens) (Gleason and Cronquist) (NE)
  • Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans) (NA)
Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
  • Bee Balm (Monrarda didyma) (NE)
  • Blazing Star (Liatris spicata) (NE)
  • Common Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium maculatum) (VT)
  • Figworts (Scrophularia marilandica, S. lanceolata) -not showy but good for honey production (VT)
  • Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) (NE)
  • Pale Swallow-wort (Vincetoxicum rossicum)
  • Black Swallow-wort (Vincetoxicum nigrum) ~ syn. European swallow-wort, dog-strangling vine
  • See Japanese Honeysuckle alternatives
  • Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) (VT)
  • Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) (VT)
Tree-of-Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
  • Any native tree for yards (see publication list)
  • Staghorn Sumac (Rhus Typhina) (VT)

References for Native Plant Gardening:

This list was produced by The Nature Conservancy, VT Non-Game and Natural Heritage Program of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, VT Agency of Transportation, VT Department of Agriculture, Food & Markets, VT Department of Environmental Conservation and Cobble Creek Nursery.

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The Vermont Master Gardener Program is an integral part of the University of Vermont Extension Home Horticulture Program
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Last modified: June 24, 2003