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 - Revised 11/7/2023

This list has been compiled with input from representatives of the NC Natural Heritage Program, USDA Forest Service, NC  Botanical Garden, NC Department of  Agriculture & Consumer Services, NC Native Plant Society, NC Invasive Plant Council, and other groups & individuals.

 Click on the “+” to expand the list to see the invasive species in each category.

Rank 1 - Severe Threat
Exotic plant species that have invasive characteristics and spread readily into native plant communities, displacing native vegetation.

FNWL = on Federal Noxious Weed List
NCNWL = North Carolina Noxious Weed List

Scientific Name

Common Name

Ailanthus altissima

Tree of Heaven, Copal Tree

Albizia julibrissin

Mimosa, Silk Tree

Alliaria petiolata

Garlic Mustard, Hedge Garlic

Alternanthera philoxeroides


Ampelopsis glandulosa [= Ampelopsis brevipedunculata]

Porcelain-berry, Amur Peppervine

Celastrus orbiculatus

Oriental Bittersweet, (NCNWL)

Dioscorea polystachya [= Dioscorea oppositifolia]

Chinese Yam, Cinnamon Vine

Elaeagnus umbellata

Autumn Olive, Oriental Silverleaf

Ficaria verna [= Ranunculus ficaria]

Lesser Celandine, Fig Buttercup

Hedera helix  

English Ivy, Common Ivy

Humulus scandens [= Humulus japonicus]

Japanese Hops

Hydrilla verticillata

Hydrilla (FNWL)

Lespedeza bicolor

Bicolor Lespedeza, Shrubby Lespedeza

Lespedeza cuneata

Sericea Lespedeza, Chinese Lespedeza

Ligustrum japonicum & cultivars

Japanese Privet

Ligustrum lucidum & cultivars

Glossy Privet

Ligustrum sinense & cultivars

Chinese Privet, “Privy Hedge”

Lonicera japonica

Japanese Honeysuckle

Microstegium vimineum

Japanese Stilt-grass

Miscanthus sinensis

Chinese Silver Grass, Eulalia

Murdannia keisak

Mud-annie, Marsh Dewflower

Myriophyllum aquaticum


Paulownia tomentosa

Princess Tree, Empress Tree

Persicaria perfoliata

Mile-a-minute Vine (NCNWL)

Phragmites australis   

Common Reed, Old World Reed

Pueraria montana var. lobata


Pyrus calleryana

Bradford Pear, Callery Pear

Reynoutria japonica var. japonica

[= Polygonum cuspidatum, Fallopia japonica]

Japanese Knotweed, Japanese Bamboo

Reynoutria sachalinensis

[= Fallopia sachalinensis, Polygonum sachalinense]

Giant Knotweed, Sachaline

Reynoutria x bohemica

[=Reynoutria japonica x sachalinensis]

Bohemian Knotweed, Hybrid Japanese Knotweed

Rosa multiflora

Multiflora Rose

Salvinia molesta

Giant Salvinia, Kariba Weed (FNWL, NCNWL)

Spiraea japonica

Japanese Spiraea

Vitex rotundifolia

Beach Vitex, Roundleaf Chaste-tree (NCNWL)

Wisteria floribunda

Japanese Wisteria

Wisteria sinensis

Chinese Wisteria

Wisteria x formosa [= W. floribunda x sinensis]

Hybrid Asian Wisteria

Youngia japonica

Asiatic Hawk’s-beard, Youngia

Rank 2 - Significant Threat
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.

FNWL = on Federal Noxious Weed List
NCNWL = North Carolina Noxious Weed List

Scientific Name

Common Name

Akebia quinata

Five-leaf Akebia, Chocolate-vine

Allium vineale

Field Garlic, Onion-grass

Arthraxon hispidus

Basket Grass, Hairy Jointgrass

Arum italicum

Italian Arum, Lords-and-ladies

Berberis thunbergii

Japanese Barberry

Broussonetia papyrifera

Paper Mulberry

Buddleja davidii [= Buddleia davidii]

Summer-lilac, Orange-eye Butterfly-bush

Causonis japonica [= Cayratia japonica]

Bushkiller, Sorrel Vine (NCNWL)

Centaurea stoebe ssp. micranthos

[= Centaurea biebersteinii, C. maculosa]]

Spotted Knapweed, Bushy Knapweed

Cirsium arvense

Canada Thistle (NCNWL)

Citrus trifoliata [= Poncirus trifoliata]  

Hardy Orange, Trifoliate Orange

Clematis terniflora

[= Clematis dioscoreifolia]

Sweet Autumn Clematis

Corydalis incisa

Purple Keman

Cytisus scoparius

Scotch Broom

Egeria densa   

Brazilian Elodea, Brazilian Waterweed

Elaeagnus angustifolia

Russian Olive, Oleaster

Elaeagnus pungens

Thorny-olive, Autumn Silverberry

Euonymus alatus

Burning Bush, Winged Euonymus

Euonymus fortunei

Wintercreeper, Chinese Spindle-tree

Glechoma hederacea

Gill-over-the-ground, Ground-ivy

Imperata cylindrica + varieties

Cogongrass, Japanese Blood Grass (FNWL)

Iris pseudacorus

Water Flag, Yellow Flag

Ligustrum vulgare & cultivars

Common Privet

Lonicera fragrantíssima

Sweet-breath-of-spring, Fragrant Honeysuckle

Lonicera maackii

Amur Honeysuckle

Lonicera morrowii

Morrow’s Honeysuckle

Lonicera standishii

Standish’s Honeysuckle

Lonicera x bella [Lonicera tatarica x morrowii

Pretty Honeysuckle

Lygodium japonicum   

Japanese Climbing Fern

Lysimachia nummularia

Creeping Jenny, Creeping Charlie

Lythrum salicaria

Purple Loosestrife (NCNWL)

Mahonia bealei

Leatherleaf Mahonia, Chinese Mahonia

Morus alba

White Mulberry

Myriophyllum spicatum

Eurasian Water-milfoil (NCNWL)

Nandina domestica

Nandina, Sacred-bamboo

Oshuna crassipes [= Eichhornia crassipes]

Water Hyacinth

Perilla frutescens

Perilla, Beefsteak-plant

Persicaria longiseta [= Polygonum caespitosum]

Longbristle Smartweed

Persicaria maculosa [= Polygonum persicaria

Lady’s-thumb, Heart’s-ease

Phyllostachys aurea

Golden Bamboo, Fishpole Bamboo

Rosa lucieae [= Rosa wichuraiana]

Memorial Rose

Rubus phoenicolasius

Wineberry, Wine Raspberry

Solanum viarum  

Tropical Soda Apple (FNWL)

Sorghum halepense

Johnson Grass

Stellaria media

Common Chickweed

Triadica sebifera

Chinese Tallow-tree, Popcorn Tree

Tussilago farfara


Ulmus parviflora

Chinese Elm

Verbascum phlomoides

Clasping Mullein, Orange Mullein

Viburnum dilatatum

Linden Arrow-wood

Vinca major

Greater Periwinkle

Vinca minor

Common Periwinkle, Myrtle

Rank 3 - Lesser Threat
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.

FNWL = on Federal Noxious Weed List
NCNWL = North Carolina Noxious Weed List

Scientific Name

Common Name

Agrostis gigantea

Redtop, Black Bentgrass

Ajuga reptans

Carpet Bugle, Bugleweed

Anthoxanthum odoratum

Sweet Vernal Grass

Artemisia vulgaris

Common Mugwort, Wormwood

Arundo donax

Giant Reed

Bromus catharticus var. catharticus

Rescue Grass, Bromegrass

Bromus commutatus

Meadow Brome, Hairy Chess

Bromus japonicus

Japanese Brome, Japanese Chess

Bromus secalinus

Cheat, Common Chess, Rye-brome

Bromus tectorum

Cheatgrass, Downy Brome, Downy Chess

Cardiospermum haliacacabum

Balloon Vine, Heartseed

Cichorium intybus

Chicory, Succory

Cirsium vulgare

Bull Thistle

Conium maculatum


Cynodon dactylon

Bermuda Grass, Scutch Grass

Daucus carota

Queen-Anne’s-lace, Wild Carrot

Dipsacus fullonum    

Wild Teasel, Fuller’s Teasel

Emblica urinaria [= Phyllanthus urinaria]

Chamber-bitter, Gripeweed

Eremochloa ophiuriodes

Centipede Grass

Fatoua villosa

Mulberry-weed, Crabweed

Firmiana simplex

Chinese Parasol-tree

Helleborus species

Hellebore, Lenten-rose, Christmas-rose

Hibiscus syriacus

Rose-of-Sharon, Althaea

Holcus lanatus

Common Velvet Grass

Ilex cornuta + varieties

Chinese Holly, Burford Holly

Kummerowia stipulacea

Korean Lespedeza, Korean-clover

Kummerowia striata

Japanese-clover, Common Lespedeza

Lamium purpureum

Purple Archangel, Purple Dead-nettle

Leucanthemum vulgare

[= Chrysanthemum leucanthemum]

Oxeye Daisy, White Daisy

Liriope muscari

Liriope, Big Blue Lilyturf

Lolium pratense [= Festuca pratensis]

Meadow Fescue

Ludwigia hexapetala

[= Ludwigia grandiflora ssp. hexapetala, Ludwigia uruguayensis]

Common Water-primrose (NCNWL)

Melia azedarach

Chinaberry, Pride-of-India

Melilotus albus

White Melilot, White Sweetclover

Melilotus officinalis

Yellow Melilot, Yellow Sweetclover

Mosla dianthera

Miniature Beefsteakplant, Mosla

Najas minor

Spinyleaf Naiad, Brittle Naiad

Nymphoides peltata

Yellow Floating Heart (NCNWL)

Ornithogalum umbellatum

Star-of-Bethlehem, Nap-at-noon

Paspalum dilatatum

Dallis Grass

Paspalum notatum

Bahia Grass

Paspalum urvillei

Vasey Grass

Pastinaca sativa

Wild Parsnip

Phleum pratense


Poa compressa

Flat-stemmed Bluegrass

Poa pratensis

Kentucky Bluegrass

Poa trivialis

Rough Bluegrass

Populus alba

Silver Poplar, White Poplar

Potentilla indica [= Duchesnea indica]

Wolf Strawberry, Indian Strawberry

Rhamnus cathartica

Common Buckthorn, European Buckthorn

Rhodotypos scandens


Securigera varia [= Coronilla varia]


Senecio vulgaris

Common Groundsel

Setaria faberi

Nodding Foxtail-grass

Setaria pumila

Yellow Foxtail, Yellow Bristlegrass (NCNWL)

Watch List A
Exotic plant species that cause problems in adjacent states but have not yet been reported to cause problems in NC. At this time, more information is needed.

FNWL = on Federal Noxious Weed List
NCNWL = North Carolina Noxious Weed List

Scientific Name

Common Name

Acer ginnala

Amur Maple

Acer platanoides

Norway Maple

Aegopodium podagraria


Alnus glutinosa

Black Alder, European Alder

Asparagus aethiopicus

Sprenger’s Asparagus Fern

Azolla pinnata ssp. asiatica

Asian Mosquito Fern (FNWL)

Bromus inermis

Smooth Brome, Hungarian Brome

Buddleja lindleyana

Lindley’s Butterfly-bush

Buglossoides arvensis


Campanula rapunculoides

Creeping Bellflower

Camphora officinarum


Carduus acanthoides

Plumeless Thistle (NCNWL)

Carduus nutans

Nodding Thistle, Musk Thistle (NCNWL)

Carex kobomugi

Sea Isle Sedge, Japanese Beach Sedge

Centaurea jacea

Brown Knapweed

Clerodendrum trichotomum var. ferrugineum

Harlequin Glory-bower

Colocasia esculenta

Coco Yam, Taro, Dasheen

Commelina benghalensis

Tropical Spiderwort (FNWL)

Commelina communis

Common Dayflower

Cortaderia selloana


Crotolaria spectabilis

Showy Rattlebox

Cuscuta cassytoides

African Dodder (FNWL)

Cyanus segetum [= Centaurea cyanus]

Cornflower, Bachelor’s-buttons

Deutzia scabra

Deutzia, Pride of Rochester

Echium vulgare

Viper’s-bugloss, Blueweed

Elymus tsukushiensis

[= Elymus kamoji, Agropyron kamoji, Agropyron semicostaum var. transiens]

Kamoji Wild-rye

Eragrostis curvula

Weeping Love Grass

Heracleum mantegazzianum

Giant Hogweed (FNWL)

Hesperis matronalis

Dame’s Rocket

Houttuynia cordata

Fishmint, Chameleon-plant

Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides

Lawn Water-pennywort

Hypericum perforatum

European St. John’s-wort, Klamath-weed

Ilex crenata

Japanese Holly

Ipomoea quamoclit


Lamium galeobdolon

Yellow Archangel

Ligustrum obtusifolium var. obtusifolium & cultivars

Border Privet

Ligustrum obtusifolium var. suave & cultivars

Amur Privet

Ligustrum quihoui & cultivars

Waxy-leaf Privet

Liriope spicata

Creeping Liriope

Lolium arundinaceum

[= Schedonorus arundinaceum, Festuca arundinacea, Schedonorus phoenix]

Tall Fescue

Lonicera tatarica

Tatarian Honeysuckle

Ludwigia grandiflora

[= Ludwigia grandiflora ssp. grandiflora]

Showy Water-primrose

Lysimachia clethroides

Gooseneck Loosestrife

Macrothelypteris torresiana

Mariana Maiden Fern

Nelumbo nucifera

Sacred-lotus, Oriental Lotus-lily

Oplismenus undulatifolius

[= Oplismenus hirtellus ssp. undulatifolius]

Wavyleaf Basketgrass

Orobanche minor

Hellroot, Lesser Broomrape (FNWL)

Paederia foetida


Panicum repens

Torpedo Grass

Philydrum lanuginosum

Woolly Waterlily, Frog’s-mouth

Phyllostachys bambusoides

Giant Timber Bamboo

Pistacia sinensis

Chinese Pistacia

Pistia stratiotes

Water Lettuce

Potamogeton crispus

Curly Pondweed, Curled Pondweed

Pourthiaea villosa [= Photinia villosa]

Oriental Photinia

Pseudosasa japonica

Arrow Bamboo

Quercus acutissima

Sawtooth Oak

Rorippa sylvestris

Creeping Yellow Cress (NCNWL)

Rosa bracteata

McCartney Rose, Chickasaw Rose

Rosa laevigata

Cherokee Rose

Rottboellia cochinchinensis

Itch-grass (FNWL)

Rubus bifrons [= Rubus armeniacus]

Himalayan Blackberry

Sesbania punicea

Rattlebox, Red Sesban

Setaria italica

Italian Millet, Foxtail-millet

Setaria viridis

Green Millet, Green Bristlegrass

Solanum dulcamara

Bittersweet, Climbing Nightshade

Stachys floridana

Florida Betony, Florida Hedge-nettle (NCNWL)

Striga asiatica

Witchweed [NCNWL]

Tamarix canariensis

Canary Island Tamarisk

Tamarix gallica

French Tamarisk

Tamarix parviflora

Small-flower Tamarisk

Tamarix ramosissima


Torilis helvetica[=Torilis arvensis]

Spreading Bur-parsley, Field Hedge-parsley

Tragopogon dubius

Goat's-beard, Yellow Salsify

Tribulus terrestris

Puncture-weed, Caltrop[NCNWL]

Tripidium ravennae [=Saccharum ravennae, Erianthus ravennae]


Ulmus pumila

Siberian Elm

Verbascum thapsus

Wolly Mullein, Common Mullein

Vernicia fordii

Tung-oil Tree

Xanthium spinosum

Spiny Cocklebur

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

FNWL = on Federal Noxious Weed List
NCNWL = North Carolina Noxious Weed List

Scientific Name

Common Name

Achyranthes japonica var. hachijoensis

Japanese Chaff-flower

Aldrovanda vesiculosa


Alternanthera sessilis

Sessile Joyweed (FNWL)

Ardisia crenata

Hen’s Eyes, Coral Ardisia

Callitriche stagnalis

European Water-starwort

Crassula helmsii

Swamp Stonecrop, New Zealand Pigmyweed (NCNWL)

Cyperus entrerianus

Deep-rooted Sedge, Woodrush Flatsedge

Dioscorea alata

White Yam, Great Yam

Dioscorea bulbifera

Air Yam

Hygrophila polysperma

West Indian Swampweed, Hygro (FNWL)

Ipomoea aquatica

Water Spinach, Swamp Morning-glory (FNWL)

Lagarosiphon major

African Elodea, Oxygen-weed (FNWL, NCNWL)

Ligustrum ovalifolium & cultivars

California Privet

Limnophila sessiliflora

Asian Marshweed (FNWL)

Lygodium microphyllum

Old World Climbing Fern (FNWL)

Melaleuca quinquenervia

Melaleuca, Punktree (FNWL)

Melinis repens

Rose Natalgrass, Creeping Molasses-grass

Nassella trichotoma

Serrated Tussockgrass (FNWL)

Nymphoides cristata

Crested Floating Heart, Water Snowflake (NCNWL)

Nymphoides indica

Water Snowflake (NCNWL)

Phyllostachys nigra

Black Bamboo

Schinus terebinthifolius

Brazilian-pepper, Christmasberry Tree

Tamarix africana

African Tamarisk

Trapa natans

European Water-chestnut, Water-caltrop (NCNWL)

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.