Some gardeners are carrying around little pink cards to leave at nurseries that are still selling plants deemed to be invasive in Ohio. The card is printed with an urgent message about the need to take certain plants out of commerce. For instance, Euonymus alatus, the popular burning bush which is brilliant red in the fall, is now considered an invasive plant as it self-sows to spread far from the original plant. Another surprise is Vinca minor, a trailing groundcover plant with glossy leaves and bright blue flowers. Some popular grasses are also on that list.
Nearly everyone has heard the warnings about kudzo and purple loosestrife. Another well-know baddie is garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), a plant with toothed heart-shaped leaves and little white flowers which spreads by seed. It is so prolific it can crowd out native species. And like most non-natives, no animals or bugs eat it and no fungus attacks it.
Multiflora rose was planted years back as food for wildlife and for fencerows to control animals. It is a good food for the birds as an individual plant can produce up to 500,000 seeds per year. However, that is what makes it so dangerous to wild flowers and grasses; the bright little red hips are eaten by birds and spread widely with their droppings.
A wetland invader is Common Reed, or Phragmites australis, a grass that reaches up to 15 feet. The big plume-like flower heads are grayish purple when in fruit. It forms large patches in ditches and along streams. To make things worse, there is a desirable native grass that looks just like it to the average gardener.