Find pesky plants

Pesky Plant Trackers badge, plants and text

After completing the online course, the next step is finding wild parsnip and/or Japanese knotweed close to where you live, work, or regularly visit. Planning ahead will make future observations easy. Below are tips and tools to help you search your local environment for pesky plants to track.

These plants often grow on public domain lands, such as edges of sidewalks, bike paths, and roads. Exercise caution and sound judgement when observing plants on public domain lands. You can also find these plants growing on public lands, such as parks and nature reserves. Follow these guidelines for getting permission to make observations on public lands. Do not enter others' private property without permission.

Wild parsnip

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Wild parsnip habitat

Consider these tips about wild parsnip’s habitat and ecology:

  • Wild parsnip does not do well in shady areas so look for open, sunny habitats.
  • Target your search along road and rail right-of-ways.
  • Also check disturbed landscapes that are relatively open. For example, you might try trails through natural areas, pastures, edges of agricultural fields, waste areas, unmaintained gravel pits, and idle lands. 

Wild parsnip map

Explore the interactive map below.

  • Tip: Zoom into your neighborhood to see if wild parsnip has already been reported.
  • Tip: Filter the map to view only “positive” reports.
  • Tip: Check the date of reports and prioritize recent reports.
  • To view the map in a new window, use this link: https://www.eddmaps.org/distribution/viewmap.cfm?sub=6147

Wild parsnip - interactive map via EDDMapS

Japanese knotweed

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Japanese knotweed habitat

Consider Japanese knotweed’s habitat and ecology:

  • Japanese knotweed requires sun and will not thrive in shady conditions.
  • Look for it in landscaped areas, where Japanese knotweed is sometimes intentionally planted as an ornamental hedge.
  • Also, check roadsides, streambanks, and riverbanks because fragments can be transported by people moving soil and by waterways.

Japanese knotweed map

Explore the interactive map below.

  • Tip: Zoom into your neighborhood to see if Japanese knotweed has already been reported.
  • Tip: Filter the map to view only “positive” reports.
  • Tip: Check the date of reports and prioritize recent reports.
  • To view the map in a new window, use this link: https://www.eddmaps.org/distribution/viewmap.cfm?sub=19655

Japanese knotweed - interactive map via EDDMapS

Optional reporting

Reporting invasive plants is not required, but it is encouraged! If the plants you see can be identified without entering private property, we suggest you use EDDMapS or the Great Lakes Early Detection Network (GLEDN) app to report infestations.