Avoid Decorating with Invasive Plants


The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has sent us the following reminder:

During the holiday season, many people use plant material gathered from their yard to decorate their houses or businesses. The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) and the Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) encourage people to avoid using exotic, invasive plants such as Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) and Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) in holiday decorations. Though these plants are attractive, it is best not to use them. Birds eat fruits from wreaths and garlands and the digested, but still-viable seeds, sprout where deposited. Exotic, invasive plants create severe environmental damage, invading open fields, forests, wetlands, meadows, and backyards, and crowding out native plants. Bittersweet can grow over and even kill mature trees. These invasive plants are extremely difficult to control: when cut off, the remaining plant segment in the ground will re-sprout. It is illegal to import or sell Oriental bittersweet and Multiflora rose in any form (e.g. plants, cuttings, or wreaths) in Massachusetts.

Home and business property gardeners, garden club members, nursery staff, landscapers and conservationists can learn more about invasive plants from DFW’s “A Guide to Invasive Plants.” The guide includes invasive plant descriptions, photographs, 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 their habitats, its current distribution, and place of origin. Similar plant species are also briefly described to aid in plant identification.

To purchase a guide, stop in the Field Headquarters office in West Boylston (note new address) during business hours or send a request to “Invasive Plant Guide,” DFW Field HQ, NHESP, 100 Hartwell Street, Suite 230, West Boylston, MA, 01583, and include a check for $5 (per copy) payable to: Comm. of Mass.–NHESP. Sorry, but DFW does not accept credit cards. Learn more about invasive plants from DFW’s Natural Heritage webpage at:

http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dfg/dfw/natural-heritage/land-protection-and-management/invasive-species/invasive-plants.html. Find this and other NHESP publications at: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dfg/dfw/natural-heritage/publications-forms/publications/.

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