If you look up the word weed in a reference such as Dictionary.com, you'll find rather benign definitions about unwanted plants
in cultivated areas such as gardens or farm fields.
But if you look up the word invasive, you'll find it defined in terms of
cancerous growths or military forces!
Both a weed and an invasive plant are plants out of place, but an invasive plant
encroaches into forests, roadsides, and prairies where it is unchecked by the
devotions of an obsessive backyard gardener. The ramifications of invasive
plants are so much more ominous than that of weeds because they can and do
destroy the natural diversity of native vegetation.
Ironically, many invasive plants get their foothold through well-meaning
gardeners who introduce the species as a lovely accent to their patch of
paradise. However, many of these plants come from foreign lands and do not have
the natural controls that a native plant has. Soon the nonnative plant takes
over - first the garden and then, by propagating via the wind, through deep-set
runners and by the cooperation of willing birds carrying the seeds, more distant
There are many plants that are invasive in
Wisconsin. To ease you into an awareness of invasive plants without overwhelming
you, IPAW has developed a list of Wisconsin's Worst foreign invaders.
Here is a great video that the Wisconsin's First Detector Network (WIFDN) has created as an introductory about invasive species. This video is intended to be a quick introduction for people (kids and adults) who are new to invasive species. It highlights Asian Bittersweet, Wild Parsnip and Zebra Mussels.
WIFDN is a citizen science network that empowers people to take action against invasive species through invasive species monitoring, management, and outreach. WIFDN provides training and resources through a combination of webinars, instructional videos, and hands-on workshops, in addition to providing volunteer opportunities to citizen scientists. For more information, visit WIFDN's website at http://fyi.uwex.edu/wifdn/.