Natural Heritage of Indiana

Invasive Plants 

Exotic and threatening plants in Indiana


Content adapted with permission from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, a partner in the Natural Heritage of Indiana project. More information can be found here.

Invasive plant species are a threat to natural areas in Indiana. They displace native plants, eliminate food and cover for wildlife, and threaten rare plant and animal species. However, among natural resource professionals there is little consensus on which species constitute the greatest threat to natural areas. Consequently, species that are considered a grave threat by some resource professionals are still recommended by other resource professionals and sold by nurseries.

Some definitions according to Indiana Codes

"DETRIMENTAL PLANTS" ( IC 15-3-4-1 ) = Includes all noxious weeds, "and, in residential areas only, noxious weeds and rank vegetation. The term does not include agricultural crops."

"EXOTIC PLANT" = Plants that are "not native" to the area under consideration.

"EXOTIC WEED" ( IC 14-8-2-87.5 ) = a weed that is not native to Indiana.

"INVASIVE PLANT" = Plants, native or exotic, with an exceptional ability to establish and to take over existing vegetation.

"NOXIOUS WEEDS" ( IC 15-3-4.6-2 ) = (1) Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense). (2) Johnson grass and Sorghum almum (Sorghum halepense).
(3) Bur cucumber (Sicyos angulatus). (4) Shattercane ( Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench spp. drummondii (Steud.) deWet).

"WEED" ( IC 14-8-2-316 ) = Any plant that is competitive, persistent, pernicious, and interferes with human activity, and as a result is undesirable.

Some examples of plants managed by law in Indiana are

Indiana DNR's site has more information on specific invasive species and forms to report a sighting. More»

Check out the Indiana State Museum's exhibit "Footprints" ISMWhat was the area like 10,000 to 11,000 years ago? Where did the big animals go? And what can we learn from our impact on the past that will make us better stewards of our environmental future?

With Footprints: Balancing Nature's Diversity, presented by Central Indiana Land Trust, the Indiana State Museum will trace our state's natural history from the Ice Age to today and beyond, considering how humans and environmental changes have affected ecological diversity and the world we live in. Drawing from the museum's collections, the exhibit answers questions about Indiana's past, shows the animals' overwhelming size and number, and suggests what it might have been like to walk among them.
Explore the online exhibit »

Our Hoosier State Beneath Us: Newspaper articles about a variety of topics related to Indiana's Natural Heritage Our Hoosier State Beneath UsThis series of 155 brief illustrated articles is part of a set of about 250 such articles produced by the Indiana Geological Survey between 1974 and 1984. The articles were distributed to and printed by newspapers all over Indiana. The topics range from coal to paleontology to people to geology. There is even a keyword search tool and a full table of contents. Browse Articles »

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