Invasive, Non-Native Exotic Species List

Why Identify Invasive, Non-Native Species?

Many introduced plants have become naturalized in North Carolina. Some of these have become invasive, replacing our native plant species. Our native fauna, including insects, birds, mammals, reptiles, fish and other animals, are dependent on native plants for food and shelter. Native plant loss due to the spread of invasive non-native plants poses a serious disruption to natural ecosystems in North Carolina and around the world.
It is so important to educate the public, nurseries, and resource managers to recognize invasive, non-native plant species and to understand their detrimental impact on our environment. With education and awareness of these invasive, non-native plant species, we hope to encourage early detection so that a rapid response can be implemented to control them, manage existing infestations, prevent accidental introductions, help to discontinue their use in landscaping and restoration projects, and minimize disturbance to forests, wetlands, and other natural communities. We must learn to work with (rather than against) natural systems and cycles.
Please note that NCNPS considers all the species on the invasive list—including the so-called “sterile hybrids” of those species—to be invasive. Many supposedly sterile hybrids have proven, through cross-pollination and other means, to be able to produce fruit and spread. In addition, no non-native plant ever provides the full ecological benefit that native plants offer. When you plant a native plant, you support an entire community of native organisms.

Invasive, Non-Native Plant Species Lists

Exotic plant species that have invasive characteristics and spread readily into native plant communities, displacing native vegetation.

Scientific Name

Common Name

Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle

Tree of Heaven

Albizia julibrissin Durz.


Alliaria petiolata (Bieb.) Cavara & Grande


Alternanthera philoxeroides (Mart.) Griseb.


Celastrus orbiculatus Thunb.

Asian bittersweet

Elaeagnus angustifolia L.

Russian olive

Elaeagnus umbellata Thunb.

Autumn olive

Hedera helix L.

English ivy

Hydrilla verticillata (L.f.) Royle


Lespedeza bicolor

Bicolor lespedeza

Lespedeza cuneata (Dum.-Cours.) G. Don

Sericea lespedeza

Ligustrum sinense Lour.

Chinese privet

Lonicera fragrantissima Lindl. & Paxton

Fragrant honeysuckle

Lonicera japonica Thunb.

Japanese honeysuckle

Microstegium vimineum (Trin.) A. Camus

Japanese stilt-grass

Murdannia keisak (Hassk.) Hand.-Mazz.

Asian spiderwort

Myriophyllum aquaticum (Vell.) Verdc.


Paulownia tomentosa (Thunb.) Sieb.&Zucc. ex Steud.

Princess tree

Persicaria perfoliata (Linnaeus) H. Gross (=Polygonum perfoliatum L.)

Mile-a-minute vine

Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ssp. australis

Common reed

Pyrus calleryana Decne.

Bradford pear

Polygonum cuspidatum Seib. & Zucc.

Japanese knotweed

Pueraria montana (Lour.) Merr.


Rosa multiflora Thunb.

Multiflora rose

Salvinia molesta Mitchell

Aquarium water-moss

Vitex rotundifolia L.f.

Beach vitex

Wisteria sinensis (Sims) DC

Chinese wisteria

Exotic plant species that display some invasive characteristics, but do not appear to present as great a threat to native communities in NC as the species listed in Rank 1.

Scientific Name

Common Name

Ampelopsis brevipedunculata (Maxim.) Trautv.


Arthraxon hispidus (Thunb.) Makino

Hairy jointgrass

Berberis thunbergii DC

Japanese barberry

Broussonetia papyrifera (L.) L’Her. ex Vent.

Paper mulberry

Cardiospermum halicacabum L.


Cayratia japonica (Thunb. ex Murray) Gagnep.


Centaurea biebersteinii DC

Spotted knapweed

Clematis terniflora DC (=C. dioscoreifolia)

Leatherleaf clematis

Conium maculatum L.

Poison hemlock

Coronilla varia L.

Crown vetch

Dioscorea polystachya L.


Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms


Euonymus alata (Thunb.) Sieb.

Burning bush

Euonymus fortunei (Turcz.) Hand. – Mazz

Winter creeper

Ficaria verna ssp. ficariiformis (F.W. Schultz) B. Walln. (=Ranunculus ficaria)

Lesser Celandine

Glechoma hederacea L.

Gill-over-the-ground, ground ivy

Humulus japonicus

Japanese Hops

Lamium purpureum L.


Lespedeza bicolor Turcz.

Bicolor lespedeza, shrubby bushclover

Ligustrum japonicum Thunb.

Japanese privet

Ligustrum vulgare L.

Common privet

Lonicera maackii (Rupr.) Maxim.

Amur bush honeysuckle

Amur bush honeysuckle

Morrow’s bush honeysuckle

Lonicera standishii Jaques

Standish’s Honeysuckle

Lonicera ×bella [morrowii × tatarica]

Hybrid Bush Honeysuckle

Ludwigia uruguayensis (Camb.) Hara

Creeping waterprimrose

Lygodium japonicum (Thunb. ex Murr.) Sw.

Japanese climbing fern

Lythrum salicaria L.

Purple loosestrife

Mahonia bealei (Fortune) Carriere

Leatherleaf Mahonia

Miscanthus sinensis Andersson

Chinese silver grass

Morus alba L.

White mulberry

Myriophyllum spicatum Komarov

Eurasian watermilfoil

Nandina domestica Thunb.


Persicaria longiseta (de Bruijn) Moldenke (=Polygonum caespitosum Blume)

Oriental ladies-thumb

Persicaria maculata (Rafinesque) S.F. Gray (=Polygonum persicaria L.)

Lady’s thumb

Phyllostachys spp.

Exotic bamboo

Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf.


Pseudosasa japonica (Sieb. & Zucc. ex Steud.) Makino ex Nakai

Arrow bamboo

Rhodotypos scandens (Thunb.)

Makino jetbead

Rubus phoenicolasius Maxim.


Solanum viarum Dunal

Tropical soda apple

Sorghum halepense (L.) Pers.

Johnson grass

Spiraea japonica L.f.

Japanese spiraea

Stellaria media (L.) Vill.

Common chickweed

Veronica hederifolia L.

Ivyleaf speedwell

Vinca major L.

Bigleaf periwinkle

Vinca minor L.

Common periwinkle

Wisteria floribunda (Willd.) DC

Japanese wisteria

Xanthium strumarium L.

Common cocklebur

Youngia japonica (L.) DC.

Oriental false hawksbeard

Exotic plant species that spread into or around disturbed areas and are presently considered a low threat to native plant communities in NC.
*Baccharis halimifolia is native to marshes and marsh borders on the outer Coastal Plain but has spread along road corridors to invade disturbed areas in the Piedmont, which is not considered its native habitat.

Scientific Name

Common Name

Ajuga reptans L.


Allium vineale L.

Field garlic

Artemisia vulgaris L.

Mugwort, common wormwood

Arundo donax L.

Giant reed

Baccharis halimifolia L. (*)

Silverling, groundsel tree

Bromus catharticus Vahl

Bromegrass, rescue grass

Bromus commutatus Schrad.

Meadow brome

Bromus japonicus Thunb. ex Murray

Japanese bromegrass

Bromus secalinus L.

Rye brome

Bromus tectorum L.

Thatch bromegrass, cheat grass

Buddleia davidii Franch

Butterfly bush

Cichorium intybus L.


Chrysanthemum leucanthemum L.

Ox-eye daisy

Cirsium vulgare (Savi) Ten.

Bull thistle

Daucus carota L.

Wild carrot, Queen Anne’s-lace

Dipsacus fullonum L.

Fuller’s teasle

Egeria densa Planch.

Brazilian elodea, Brazilian water-weed

Fatoua villosa (Thunb.) Nakai

Hairy crabweed

Festuca pratensis Huds.

Meadow fescue

Ipomoea quamoclit L.

Cypressvine morningglory

Kummerowia stipulacea (Maxim.)

Makino Korean clover

Kummerowia striata (Thunb.) Schindl

Japanese clover

Lamiastrum galeobdolon

Yellow Archangel

Liriope muscari (Dcne.) Bailey

Liriope, Lilyturf

Lysimachia nummularia L.

Moneywort, creeping Jenny

Melilotus albus Medik.

White sweet clover

Melilotus officinalis (L.) Lam.

Yellow sweet clover

Najas minor All.

Brittle naiad

Pastinaca sativa L.

Wild parsnip

Perilla frutescens (L.) Britt.


Populus alba L.

White poplar

Senecio vulgaris L.


Setaria faberi R.A.W. Herrm.

Nodding foxtail-grass

Triadica sebifera (L.) Small

Chinese tallowtree

Tussilago farfara L.


Vicia sativa L.

Garden vetch

*Baccharis halimifolia is native to marshes and marsh borders on the outer Coastal Plain but has spread along road corridors to invade disturbed areas in the Piedmont, which is not considered its native habitat.
Exotic plant species that cause problems in adjacent states but have not yet been reported to cause problems in NC.

Scientific Name

Common Name

Arum italicum P. Mill.

Italian lords and ladies

Buglossoides arvensis (L.) I.M. Johnston (L.) I.M.

Corn gromwell

Bupleurum rotundifolium L.

Hound’s-ear, hare’s ear

Centaurea cyanus L.


Cyperus entrerianus Boeckler

Deep-rooted sedge

Echium vulgare L.

Viper’s bugloss

Elaeagnus pungens Thunb

Thorny olive

Hibiscus syriacus L.

Rose of Sharon

Hypericum perforatum L.

St. John’s-wort

Ilex cornuta

Burford holly

Ornithogalum umbellatum L.

Star of Bethlehem

Solanum dulcamara L.

Climbing nightshade

Verbascum thapsus L.

Common mullein

Exotic plant species that cause problems in adjacent states but have not yet been reported to cause problems in NC.

Scientific Name

Common Name

Acer platanoides L.

Norway maple

Akebia quinata (Houtt.) Dcne.

Fiveleaf akebia

Bromus inermis Leyss.

Smooth bromegrass

Carduus nutans L.

Musk thistle

Carex kobomugi Ohwi

Japanese sedge

Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop.

Canada thistle

Commelina benghalensis L.

Bengal dayflower

Hesperis matronalis L.

Dame’s rocket

Imperata cylindrica

Cogon grass

Iris pseudoacorus L.

Pale-yellow iris

Lonicera tatarica L.

Tartarian honeysuckle

Ludwigia grandiflora ssp. grandiflora (Michx) Greuter & Burdet

Creeping waterprimrose

Melia azedarach L.


Nymphoides cristata (Roxburgh) Kuntze

Crested floating heart

Pistia stratiotes L.


Potamogeton crispus L.

Curly pondweed

Quercus acutissima Carruthers

Sawtooth oak

Rhamnus cathartica L.

European buckthorn

Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv.


Setaria verticillata (L.) Beauv.


Setaria viridis (L.) P. Beauv.

Green millet

Stachys floridana Shuttlw. ex Benth.

Florida Hedge nettle

Torilis arvensis (Huds.) Link

Spreading hedge-parsley

Tragopogon dubius Scop.

Yellow goat’s-beard

Trapa natans L.

Water Chestnut

Tribulus terrestris L.


Xanthium spinosum L.

Spiny cocklebur

Additional Resources

Downloadable List

Download and print a copy of the above invasive plant lists.

Gallery Search

Search our plant gallery database for invasive plants.

North Carolina Invasive Plant Council

On this website, access lists and information about invasive plants and noxious weeds. In addition, access the federal noxious weeds list.

NC State Extension

Learn more about invasive species and search an invasive plant list to find plants you should avoid introducing to your landscape.