Post Content

Marion Larson

Marion Larson

Outreach Coordinator, MassWildlife

View Marion’s Bio

Anna Waclawiczek

Anna Waclawiczek

Chief of Staff, Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR)

View Anna’s Bio

Invasive Plant: Asiatic Bittersweet

It’s that time of year when many people are using plants to decorate their houses or businesses. Pumpkins, gourds and cornstalks are already “sprouting” on doorsteps and porches! Though these decorations are very attractive, as representatives of MassWildlife and the Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR), we highly recommend that people avoid using invasive plants such as Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) and multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) in holiday decorations. Birds eat and carry away the fruits of these plants from wreaths and garlands and the digested but still-viable seeds can sprout wherever they are deposited. Exotic, invasive plants create severe environmental damage, invading open fields, forests, wetlands, meadows, and backyards, and crowding out native plants. Bittersweet vines can even kill mature trees by strangling them. Both Oriental bittersweet and multiflora rose are extremely difficult to control; when cut, the remaining plants will re-sprout. Due to their invasiveness, both plants are on the Massachusetts Prohibited Plant List, making them illegal to import or sell in any form, as whole plants or as cuttings in decorations.

Homeowners, nursery staff, landscapers and conservationists can learn more about invasive plants from A Guide To Invasive Plants in Massachusetts. In the guide, each invasive plant description includes a photograph, the plant’s regulatory status, key identification characteristics, habitats where the plant is likely to be found, type of threat the plant poses to native species and habitats, and its current distribution and place of origin. Similar plant species are also briefly described to aid in plant identification. The guide includes definitions of three categories of invasiveness, brief explanations of how invasive plants are introduced and spread, why invasives are a problem and how to learn more about controlling invasive plants. DAR regulations regarding invasive plant importation, sale and propagation are also included.

The guide is $5 a copy and may be purchased from MassWildlife by stopping in at the Westborough office during business hours or by sending a request to “Invasive Plant Guide,” MassWildlife Field HQ, NHESP, 1 Rabbit Hill Rd, Westborough, MA, 01581, and include a check payable to: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts-NHESP. Sorry, but MassWildlife doesn’t accept credit cards for purchases of publications.

For online information about invasive plants, check out the following sites.

New England Wild Flower Society invasive plants information and photo gallery.

Interactive invasive species map by the Invasive Plant Atlas of New England.

New England Wild Flower Society invasive plant information.

DAR prohibited plants list.

MassWildlife invasive species information.

Written By:

Recent Posts

2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: February posted on Feb 25

2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: February

  February’s contest winner was Amanda Bettle, who photographed sheep at The Natural Resources Trust of Easton.  This photo features Dog, a former 4-H show animal and sole male sheep among the nine ewes in the Natural Resources Trust of Easton (NRT) flock. It is the mission   …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: February

2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: January posted on Jan 26

2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: January

January’s contest winner was Renee Finnegan, who photographed a pensive Highland cow at Oak Meadows Farm & Garden in Rutland. Glenn and Mary Kauppila have been farming 100 acres of land in Rutland for approximately 15 years. With the help of their three adult children, they   …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: January

Visit Winter Farmers’ Markets for Holiday Gifts posted on Dec 5

Visit Winter Farmers’ Markets for Holiday Gifts

  While performers serenade shoppers with upbeat or easy-listening music, farmers and food producers sell a wide variety of local food throughout the winter at over 40 winter farmers’ markets this season. Those who have not yet visited a winter market might be surprised by   …Continue Reading Visit Winter Farmers’ Markets for Holiday Gifts