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Fall Species List

Species to be on the lookout for and their distinctive autumn features
Keep a lookout for invasive species that are particularly eye-catching this time of year! 

Japanese knotweed 
(Fallopia japonica var. japonica)


Stevens County Noxious Weed Control Board,

Look for stems of lacy white flowers sticking up from the stalks of alternating leaves.
More Info

Learn how to distinguish between male and female plants of knotweed and enter this info in the "Observation Comments" after submitting your observation to iMapInvasives.
 Giant Hogweed
Heracleum mantegazzianum)


Jan Samanek, State Phytosanitary Administration,

Look for tall stems (up to 14 feet) supporting large heads of flattened, oval seeds. 
More Info

 Water Soldier
(Stratiotes aloides)


Krejčík S., Meloidae,

 Aquatic plant with sword-shaped, serrated leaves. Overall shape similar to an aloe plant or spider plant. Not known in NY, but has been found in Ontario. 
More Info
 Japanese angelica tree 
(Aralia elata)


David G. Smith,

Look for large, stout clusters of small white flowers emerging from the top of the trunk of this spiny tree.
More Info

To distinguish from native Aralia, see Mistaken Identity (published by the Delaware Department of Agriculture).
Chinese silvergrass 
(Miscanthus sinensis)



Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,

Look for the flowering heads right now. These fan-shaped panicles are 6-24 inches long and can be silvery to pale pink in color.
More Info
Japanese Virgin's-bower
 (Clematis terniflora)


Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia,

Clusters of white, star-shaped flowers can be very showy right now on these semi-evergreen vines.
More Info
(Pueraria montana var. lobata)


David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia,

Purple, fragrant flowers on long hanging clusters will turn into hairy, flattened seed pods. Although the trifoliate leaves of this legume are very similar to poison ivy, kudzu leaves have hairy stems and edges. 
More Info
Pale and Black Swallowworts
(Cynanchum spp.)

John Randall, The Nature Conservancy,

The slender, drying pods of pale and black swallowwort are visible in the fall. As pods burst open, they release fluffy seeds that are wind dispersed. Swallowwort are twining vines that have opposite, oval-shaped leaves. 
More Info

If you cannot distinguish black from pale swallowwort, enter the observation into iMap as "Swallowwort (species unknown)". 
Chinese wisteria 
(Wisteria sinensis)

James H. Miller & Ted Bodner, Southern Weed Science Society,

Look for the green to brown, velvety seedpods forming on this woody vine in the fall. Leaves are alternate and compound with 9-11 leaflets.
More Info

If you cannot distinguish this species from Japanese wisteria, enter the observation into iMap as "Wisteria (species unknown)". 
 Slender false brome
(Brachypodium sylvaticum ssp.  sylvaticum)


Glenn Miller,            

Flower spikelets attached directly to the main flower branch. Fringe of fine hairs along edge of leaf.
More Info
(Persicaria perfoliata)

Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,
This twining vine has distinctive arrow-shaped leaves and recurved spines along stems and leaf undersides. Clusters of blue berries are now forming at the tips of branches, subtended by a cup-shaped leafy structure around the stem.
More Info
Policeman's helmet
(Impatiens glandulifera)

Jan Samanek, State Phytosanitary Administration,
This tall, flowering plant is distinguishable from the native Impatiens by its large size and sharply serrated leaves (as opposed to the scalloped leaves of jewelweed).The pink to purple flowers are visible now, and are forming seed capsules (~ 0.75 inches long), which burst open when ripe.
More Info

 Oriental bittersweet
(Celastrus orbiculatus)

James R. Allison, Georgia Department of Natural Resources,
The fruit of this woody vine consists of a yellow capsule that splits open upon ripening to reveal a reddish fleshy-orb made of three compartments. Leaves are alternate and round, with finely toothed margins.
More Info 

 Wild Boar
(Sus scrofa)

 Billy Higginbotham, Texas AgriLife Extension Service,
 Although these animals are elusive, the signs they leave behind can be quite obvious. Boars can cause extensive rooting damage overnight, looking like someone used a tiller machine. This is especially noticeable on turf and planted agricultural fields.  
More Info
                 Porcelain Berry
    (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata)

photo by Bill Johnson
 Porcelain berries form dense mats, reducing light penetration to other vegetation.  It seems to be most invasive is areas of edge disturbance, gaps and riparian areas.  It is not usually found in dense forest.  Seed spread is through birds, small mammals, and water. 

To distinguish from native grapvines, see 
Mistaken Identity (published by the Delaware Department of Agriculture).