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Catalog of Invasive Plant Species
of the United States

During the past decade, awareness has been raised of the economic and ecological damage that is caused by invasive plants in the United States. Invasive plants have been introduced into the United States from other countries and have rapidly spread throughout the nation's cropland and ecological communities. These plants lack natural herbivores and parasites to limit their population size and are quickly able to dominate their new habitats. Every state has been affected by invasive species, costing the United States billions of dollars annually in agricultural losses and control measures.

Thousands of plants have been introduced into the United States, but not all of them have become aggressive invaders. Common attributes of invasive species include rapid growth, short life-cycles (the ability to germinate, grow, flower, and produce seeds rapidly), and abundant seed production. These attributes allow these plants to displace native species and disrupt the normal functioning of ecosystems. Wildlife that depends on native plants for food and shelter are also adversely affected.

Invasive plants are a threat to biodiversity and can be found in nature preserves across the world. The Florida Everglades has already lost hundreds of thousands of acres to the invasive melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia), resulting in huge losses of native plant and animal biodiversity. Scientists fear that this reduction in biodiversity can lead to the homogenization of the world's flora and the extinction of many native plant species.

Herbarium collections present a unique historical record of the introduction and spread of these invasive plant species. A herbarium specimen can help determine the time and place of introduction of a non-native plant and subsequent collections can then document its diffusion. In an effort to make these data more easily accessible, The New York Botanical Garden has begun databasing its holdings of invasive plant species. The basis for inclusion of a species in our database is the Federal Noxious Weed List and/or the State List of Regulated Noxious Weeds, both published by the United States Department of Agriculture.

List of taxa available in the catalog

To search the Invasive Species Catalog by the name of the plant (family, genus, species, or subspecific epithet), author, collector, collector number, barcode number, or type status, use the Basic Search box below. To search one or more specific fields in the database, choose the Detailed Search.

 Basic Search


 Advanced Search
(most recent determination)
Scientific Name
(most recent determination)
Searches the genus, species, infraspecies, and author abbreviations of a name.
(most recent determination)
(most recent determination)
(most recent determination)
(all determinations)
Scientific Name
(all determinations)
Searches the genus, species, infraspecies, and author abbreviations of a name.
(all determinations)
(all determinations)
(all determinations)
Common Name
Determiner Searches initials and last name.
Collector Searches initials and last name.
Collection Number
Collection Date
(dd mm yyyy)
One or more may be used to search the collection date.
Continent Examples: Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Central America, Europe, North America, Oceania, South America, West Indies
Country Avoid abbreviations. Examples: Netherlands Antilles; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; United States of America
State/Province Avoid abbreviations. Examples: Mato Grosso do Sul; Nevada; Santa Catarina
Precise Location
Plant Description
Barcode Unique NY-assigned specimen barcode number
Type Status "Holotype," "Isotype," etc.
Records with Images Limits searches to only those records with images or other multimedia attachments.
Records Per Page

Search Tips

Searches in the Virtual Herbarium are by default word-based. The fastest searches are made by using whole words as the criteria. Wildcard characters can be used to find partial words, but search times will be significantly longer.

Use an asterisk (*) as a substitute for any number of characters in a word. (Example: "South*" in the Province/State field will return specimen records from "South Dakota," "South Carolina," etc.)

Use an exclamation mark before a word to specifically exclude that word from the search. (Example: "Rorippa" in the Genus field and "!austriaca" in the Species field will return all records of Rorippa except Rorippa austriaca.)

Use quotation marks to search for exact phrases. Words not enclosed by quotation marks will be used to return records with all of the words, but not necessarily in the order typed.

*The Scientific Name field searches the genus, species, infraspecies, and author abbreviations of a name.
Example 1: the search term "repens" finds specimens of Centaurea repens and Ranunculus repens.
Example 2: the term "Trin." finds specimen records of numerous taxa described by Carl Bernhard von Trinius.

Author abbreviations can be found using Harvard University Herbaria's Index of Botanists.

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