Invasive Plants 101

What defines an invasive? Invasive species are those that are 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.

How are invasive species spread? They can be introduced to an area by ship ballast water, firewood, accidental release, and by people. Human actions are the primary means of invasive species introductions.

The path by which an invasive species is introduced into new environments can be natural or man-made. Natural paths are those not aided by humans (i.e., wind, currents). Man-made (human initiated) are characteristically of two types: intentional, which is the result of a deliberate movement of a species by humans, such as the movement of species for the horticultural or pet trade; unintentional, which is the inadvertent movement of species as a byproduct of some other human activity (i.e., pests and dieseases in imported plants, transportation of firewood and other agricultural products)

CCHIRP, though concerned with all types of invasive species, focuses on removal of invasive plants in Indiana, and specifically to Clark County. Of the roughly 2,900 plant species growing outside of cultivation in Indiana, approximately 33% are non-native, but only a small fraction of those non-native plants are invasive. Invasive plants degrade and destroy thousands of acres of our natural plant communities in Indiana, and millions of dollars are spent each year to control them. 

Indiana’s Terrestrial Plant Rule 312 IAC 183-25

The Terrestrial Plant Rule designates 44 species of plants as invasive pests. It is illegal to sell, gift, barter, exchange, transport, or introduce these plants in the state of Indiana without a permit from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) – Division of Entomology and Plant Pathology (DEPP).

View the Plant Rule fact sheet below for a listing of species affected by the rule, consequences of selling and/or growing, and more:

Indiana Terrestrial Plant Rule FAQ Sheet

Plants of Concern

There are several species of plants that are not regulated at this time, but that are aggressive enough in their growth habits to warrant “concern”. Many of these are currently under consideration for inclusion in the Terrestrial Plant Rule. If you observe these species, please report their location at

  • Burning bush (euonymus alatus)
  • Callery pear (Bradford pear) (Pyrus calleryana)
  • Chinese maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis)
  • English ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Highbush cranberry (Viburnum opulus v. opulus)
  • Hybrid cattail (Typha x glauca)
  • Japanese meadowsweet (Spiraea japonica)
  • Jetbead (Rhodotypos scandens)
  • Korean lespedeza (Kummerowia stipulacea)
  • Lesser celandine (Ficaria verna)
  • Lyme grass (Leymus arenarius)
  • Moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia)
  • Norway maple (Acer platanoides)
  • Periwinkle (Vinca minor)
  • Porcelain berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata)
  • Princess tree (Paulownia tomentosa)
  • Striate lespedeza (Kummerowia striata)
  • Sweet autumn clemantis (Clematis terniflora)
  • Vetch (Vicia cracca)
  • Wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa)
  • Wine raspberry (Rubus phoenicolasius)
  • Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis)

Invasive Resources and Links

  • Purdue University has a collection of information and videos to help with identification, control, and reporting of invasive species – Report Invasive
  • The Indiana Invasive Species Council (IISC) page includes the invasive plant list for Indiana, as well as resources pertaining to invasive species rules, management practices, and reporting.
  • The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (INDR) directory of terrestrial invasive plants and plant restrictions in Indiana, and information to help you report invasive locations in Indiana.
  • The Midwest Invasive Plant Network (MIPN) provides resources to reduce the impact of invasive plant species in the Midwest at
  • The Center for Invasive Species & Ecosystem Health has resources on multiple invasive species, and a wide selection of pictures.
  • A wealth of information on native and invasive plants can be found on the Indiana Native Plant Society website.   
  • Information on the invasive species research being done by the U.S. Forest Service can be found at
  • Real time tracking of invasive species occurrences, local and national distribution maps, electronic early detection reporting tools, and a library of identification and management information can be found at EDDMapS.