TN-EPPC Invasive Exotic Pest Plants in Tennessee

December 2009 (2nd Edition)

The purpose of this list is to identify introduced plant species that are invasive or may become invasive and cause damage to native plant communities. Introduced species are plants not native to a region of the state and are referred to as exotics. The intent of this list is to:

  • rank exotics based on their invasive characteristics;
  • foster early detection of invasive exotics enabling resource managers to implement a rapid response action to prevent establishment and spread;
  • educate the general public and resource managers in an effort to eliminate the use of invasive exotics in landscaping, restoration, and enhancement projects.

This list has no regulatory authority but provides useful information to help guide agencies and private landowners in making responsible decisions about plant use and management decisions. The Council acknowledges that most introduced species are harmless. However, it also realizes that many species do naturalize and have the potential to spread and become ecological disasters.

Nomenclature and authorship are taken from the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS)

Protocols and Criteria for Listing:

TN-EPPC drafted a protocol for list development to evaluate plant species recommended for listing based on field observations by botanists, land managers, and others working with the state’s natural resources. Each plant was put through standardized ranking criteria to determine its inclusion and rank.

Rank Definitions:

  • Alert possess invasive characteristics; known to be invasive in similar habitats as those found in Tennessee
  • Severe Threat possess invasive characteristics; spread easily in native plant communities and displace native vegetation
  • Signifiant Threat posses invasive characteristics; not presently considered to spread as easily into native plant communities as Severe Threat
  • Lesser Threat spread in or near disturbed areas; not presently considered a threat to native plant communities

Create a PDF of TN-EPPC’s List of Exotic Invasive Pest Plants in Tennessee:

To create a PDF of the plant list, choose the preferred method of organization – by rank, by scientific name, by common name, or by plant type (click the heading) – and click the Create a PDF button.

Individual Plant Data:

To access each plant’s full description, images, life history, similar species, and various management recommendations, click the scientific name.

Invasive Plants Of Tennessee


Scientific Name

Common Names

Plant Type

Severe Threat Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle Tree of Heaven Tree
Severe Threat Albizia julibrissin Durazz. Mimosa Tree
Severe Threat Celastrus orbiculatus Thunb. Asian Bittersweet Vine
Severe Threat Ligustrum sinense Lour. Chinese Privet Shrub
Severe Threat Ligustrum vulgare L. Common Privet Shrub
Severe Threat Elaeagnus umbellata var. parviflora (Wall. ex Royle) C.K.Schneid. Autumn Olive Shrub
Severe Threat Microstegium vimineum (Trin.) A. Camus Japanese Stiltgrass Grass
Severe Threat Paulownia tomentosa (Thunb.) Sieb. & Zucc. ex Steud. Empress Tree Tree
Severe Threat Pueraria montana var. lobata (Willd.) Maesen & S. Almeida Kudzu Vine
Severe Threat Rosa multiflora Thunb. ex Murr. Multiflora Rose Shrub
Severe Threat Lythrum salicaria L. Purple Loosestrife Forb/Herb
Severe Threat Polygonum cuspidatum Seib. & Zucc. Fleeceflower Forb/Herb
Severe Threat Dioscorea oppositifolia L. Chinese Yam Vine
Severe Threat Imperata cylindrica (L.) Beauv. Cogongrass Grass
Severe Threat Lespedeza bicolor Turcz. Bicolor Lespedeza Shrub
Severe Threat Lespedeza cuneata (Dum.-Cours) G. Don Chinese Lespedeza Forb/Herb
Severe Threat Lonicera japonica Thunb. Japanese Honeysuckle Vine
Severe Threat Solanum viarum Dunal Tropical Soda Apple Shrub
Severe Threat Hydrilla verticillata (L.f.) Royle Hydrilla Aquatic
Severe Threat Alternanthera sessilis (L.) R. Br. ex DC. Sessile Joyweed Forb/Herb
Severe Threat Bromus tectorum L. Cheat Grass Grass
Severe Threat Hypericum perforatum L. Common St. John's-wort Shrub
Severe Threat Kummerowia stipulacea (Maxim.) Makino Korean Clover, Korean Lespedeza Forb/Herb
Severe Threat Rottboellia cochinchinensis (Lour.) W.D. Clayton Itchgrass Grass
Severe Threat Salvinia molesta Mitchell Aquarium Water-moss Aquatic
Severe Threat Sorghum halepense (L.) Pers. Johnson Grass Grass
Significant Threat Allium vineale L. Field Garlic Forb/Herb
Significant Threat Lonicera maackii (Rupr.) Herder. Amur Bush Honeysuckle Shrub
Significant Threat Elaeagnus pungens Thunb. Thorny Olive Shrub
Significant Threat Alliaria petiolata (Bieb.) Cavara & Grande Garlic Mustard Forb/Herb
Significant Threat Berberis thunbergii DC. Japanese Barberry Shrub
Significant Threat Carduus nutans L. Musk Thistle Forb/Herb
Significant Threat Myriophyllum aquaticum (Vell.) Verdc. Brazilian Watermilfoil Aquatic
Significant Threat Spiraea japonica L.f. Japanese Meadowsweet Shrub
Significant Threat Myriophyllum spicatum L. Eurasian Water-milfoil Aquatic
Significant Threat Arundo donax L. Elephant Grass Grass
Significant Threat Melia azedarach L. Chinaberry Tree
Significant Threat Miscanthus sinensis Anderss. Chinese Silver Grass Grass
Significant Threat Vinca major L. Bigleaf Periwinkle Vine
Significant Threat Vinca minor L. Common Periwinkle Vine
Significant Threat Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) S.J. Darbyshire Tall Fescue Grass
Significant Threat Tussilago farfara L. Coltsfoot Forb/Herb
Significant Threat Alternanthera philoxeroides (Mart.) Griseb. Alligatorweed Forb/Herb
Significant Threat Arthraxon hispidus (Thunb.) Makino Hairy Jointgrass Grass
Significant Threat Broussonetia papyrifera (L.)L’Her. ex Vent. Paper Mulberry Tree
Significant Threat Centaurea biebersteinii DC. Spotted Knapweed Forb/Herb
Significant Threat Cirsium vulgare (Savi) Ten. Bull Thistle Forb/Herb
Significant Threat Eragrostis curvula (Schrad.) Nees Weeping Lovegrass, African Lovegrass, Boar Lovegrass, Curved Lovegrass, Catalina Lovegrass Grass
Significant Threat Glechoma hederacea L. Creeping Charlie Vine
Significant Threat Iris pseudacorus L. Yellow Flag Iris Forb/Herb
Significant Threat Lysimachia nummularia L. Creeping Jenny Forb/Herb
Significant Threat Maclura pomifera (Raf.) Schneid. Bodock (Bois-d'arc) Tree
Significant Threat Mentha x piperita L. Peppermint Forb/Herb
Significant Threat Murdannia keisak (Hassk.) Hand.-Maz. Asian spiderwort Forb/Herb
Significant Threat Polygonum caespitosum var. longisetum (deBruyn) A.N.Steward Bristly Lady's Thumb Forb/Herb
Significant Threat Polygonum persicaria L. Spotted Ladysthumb Forb/Herb
Significant Threat Populus alba L. Silverleaf Poplar Tree
Significant Threat Potamogeton crispus L. Curly Pondweed Aquatic
Significant Threat Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum (L.) Hayek Watercress Aquatic
Significant Threat Setaria faberi R.A.W. Herrm. Chinese Foxtail Grass
Significant Threat Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv. Foxtail-millet Grass
Significant Threat Setaria viridis (L.) P. Beauv Giant Green Foxtail Grass
Significant Threat Verbascum thapsus L. Common Mullein Forb/Herb
Lesser Threat Wisteria floribunda (Willd.) DC. Japanese Wisteria Vine
Lesser Threat Euonymus alatus (Thunb.) Sieb. Burning Bush Shrub
Lesser Threat Euonymus fortunei (Turcz.) Hand.-Mazz. Winter Creeper Vine
Lesser Threat Hedera helix L. English Ivy Vine
Lesser Threat Bromus secalinus L. Rye Brome Grass
Lesser Threat Bromus sterilis L. Barren Bromegrass Grass
Lesser Threat Buglossoides arvensis (L.) I.M. Johnston Corn Gromwell, Field Gromwell, Bastard Alkanet, Stoneseed Forb/Herb
Lesser Threat Bupleurum rotundifolium L. Hare's-ear Forb/Herb
Lesser Threat Cardiospermum halicacabum L. Balloonvine Vine
Lesser Threat Centaurea cyanus L. Bachelor's Button Forb/Herb
Lesser Threat Cichorium intybus L. Chicory Forb/Herb
Lesser Threat Clematis terniflora DC. Sweet Autumn Clematis Vine
Lesser Threat Conium maculatum L. Poison Hemlock Forb/Herb
Lesser Threat Dipsacus fullonum L. Common Teasel Forb/Herb
Lesser Threat Egeria densa Planch. Brazilian Egeria Aquatic
Lesser Threat Hibiscus syriacus L. Rose of Sharon, Shrub Althea Shrub
Lesser Threat Mentha spicata L. Spearmint Forb/Herb
Lesser Threat Muscari neglectum Guss. ex Ten. Grape Hyacinth Forb/Herb
Lesser Threat Ornithogalum umbellatum L. Star of Bethlehem Forb/Herb
Lesser Threat Pastinaca sativa L. Wild Parsnip Forb/Herb
Lesser Threat Ranunculus bulbosus L. St. Anthony's Turnip Forb/Herb
Lesser Threat Rubus phoenicolasius Maxim. Wine Raspberry Shrub
Lesser Threat Tragopogon dubius Scop. Yellow Goat's-beard Forb/Herb
Alert Ligustrum japonicum Thunb. Japanese Privet Shrub
Alert Ligustrum obtusifolium Sieb. & Zucc. Border Privet Shrub
Alert Lonicera fragrantissima Lindl. & Paxton January Jasmine Shrub
Alert Lonicera morrowii Gray Morrow's Bush Honeysuckle Shrub
Alert Lonicera tatarica L. Tartarian Honeysuckle Shrub
Alert Lonicera x bella Zabel Bell's Honeysuckle Shrub
Alert Wisteria sinensis (Sims) DC. Chinese Wisteria Vine
Alert Elaeagnus angustifolia L. Russian Olive Tree
Alert Dioscorea bulbifera L. Air Yam Vine
Alert Lygodium japonicum (Thunb. ex Murr.) Swartz Japanese Climbing Fern Forb/Herb
Alert Nandina domestica Thunb. Heavenly Bamboo Shrub
Alert Triadica sebifera (L.) Small Chinese Tallowtree Tree
Alert Coronilla varia L. Crown Vetch Vine
Alert Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms Water Hyacinth Aquatic
Alert Achyranthes japonica var. hachijoensis Japanese Chaff Flower Forb/Herb
Alert Acroptilon repens (L.) DC. Russian Knapweed Forb/Herb
Alert Agrostis stolonifera L. Creeping Bentgrass Grass
Alert Buddleja davidii Franch. Butterfly Bush Shrub
Alert Carduus acanthoides L. Bristly Thistle Forb/Herb
Alert Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop. Canada Thistle Forb/Herb
Alert Firmiana simplex (L.) W. Wight Chinese Parasoltree Tree
Alert Gaillardia pulchella Foug. Firewheel Forb/Herb
Alert Helianthus ciliaris DC. Texas Blueweed Forb/Herb
Alert Hesperis matronalis L. Dame's Rocket Forb/Herb
Alert Ilex crenata Thunb. Japanese Holly Shrub
Alert Koelreuteria paniculata Laxm. Goldenrain Tree Tree
Alert Lotus corniculatus L. Bird's-foot Trefoil, Birdfoot Deervetch, Bloomfell, Cat's Clover, Crowtoes, Ground Honeysuckle Forb/Herb
Alert Ludwigia uruguayensis (Camb.) Hara Uruguay Waterprimrose, Showy Waterprimrose Aquatic
Alert Mahonia bealei (Fortune) Carr. Beale's Barberry Shrub
Alert Myosotis scorpioides L. True Forget-me-not,Yelloweye Forget-me-not, Water Scorpion-grass Forget-me-not Forb/Herb
Alert Najas minor All. Water Nymph Aquatic
Alert Phalaris canariensis L. Annual Canary Grass Grass
Alert Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud. Common Reed Grass
Alert Persicaria perfoliata (L.) H. Gross Asiatic Tearthumb Forb/Herb
Alert Pyrus calleryana Dcne. Bradford Pear Tree
Alert Rubus bifrons Vest ex Tratt Himalayan Berry Shrub
Alert Salsola tragus L. Prickly Russian Thistle Forb/Herb
Alert Senna obtusifolia (L.) H.S. Irwin & Barneby Java-bean Forb/Herb
Alert Setaria pumila (Poir.) Roem. & Schult. Smooth Millet Grass
Alert Sonchus arvensis L. Perennial Sowthistle Forb/Herb
Alert Trapa natans L. Water Caltrop Aquatic
Alert Tribulus terrestris L. Puncturevine Forb/Herb
Alert Kummerowia striata (Thunb.) Schindl. Japanese Clover Forb/Herb
Alert Lepidium campestre (L.) Ait. F. Field Pepperweed Forb/Herb
Alert Leucanthemum vulgare Lam. Ox-eye Daisy Forb/Herb
Alert Melilotus officinalis (L.) Lam Yellow Sweet Clover Forb/Herb
Alert Daucus carota L. Queen Anne's Lace Forb/Herb
Alert Bromus japonicus Thunb. ex Murr. Field Brome Grass
Alert Melilotus alba Medikus White Sweet Clover Forb/Herb