Last Tuesday in Indianapolis the Natural Resources Commission adopted a rule that will make dozens of invasive plant species illegal in Indiana.
“This rule takes 44 highly invasive species and makes it illegal to sell or offer for sale, gift, barter, exchange or distribute them,” said Ellen Jacquart, a member of the Invasive Plant Advisory Committee and president of the Indiana Native Plant Society.
Jacquart lives in Monroe County and worked for The Nature Conservancy 20 years ago, when the effort to stop plant nurseries, greenhouses, and home improvement stores from selling and people from transporting the invasive plant species began.
“We tried to do that for many years through education and asking nurseries not to sell these species,” Jacquart said. “It was ineffective.”
So in 2013, Jacquart and others asked the state to make it illegal to sell invasive plants. The Invasive Plant Advisory Committee came up with a list of plants that was used as the basis for determining which ones the state would include in what is called its terrestrial plant rule.
Jacquart said that of the 500 comments received about the terrestrial plant rule, just a few were against the regulation.
Michael Gregg of Scottsburg was among those who offered comments in support of the new rule
“I strongly support the Terrestrial Plant Rule,” he wrote “Indiana has very good fertile soil, over 80% of the state, invasive/exotic plants need to be removed and should no longer be sold in Indiana. Callery Pear and Eastern Burning Bush should be added to the list of invasive, exotic weeds that should be outlawed or no longer sold, planted, or distributed in Indiana.”
Before the rule goes into effect, it must be approved by the state attorney general, then signed by the governor. At that point only one-third of the rule will go into effect: Introducing an invasive species into Indiana will be illegal. The other two parts, regarding sale, transfer and transport of the plants, likely will go into effect a next spring.
The delayed enforcement gives the nursery industry time to get rid of its current stock of invasive plants, said Megan Abraham, division director of the state Division of Entomology and Plant Pathology. Abraham said the same delayed timeline was given when Indiana passed a rule to prohibit invasive aquatic plants in 2012.
State officials will be educating the 350 growers and 3,500 nursery dealers and retailers in Indiana, well as the public, about what plants will soon be illegal to have in the state. After that, anyone with plants on the list will be in violation and could face up to a $500 fine per incident per day. Anyone selling the plants would be issued a stop-sale notice and have any plants removed.
“We expect folks out there to tell us when something is out there that shouldn’t be,” Abraham said, adding that other states will be selling plants, such as purple loosestrife, that will no longer be legal in Indiana.
Prohibited Invasive Terrestrial Plants
•Achyranthes japonica (Japanese chaff flower).
•Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven).
•Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard).
•Alnus glutinosa (black alder).
•Artemisia vulgaris (mugwort).
•Arthraxon hispidus (small carpgrass).
•Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry).
•Carduus acanthoides (spiny plumeless thistle).
•Carduus nutans (musk thistle).
•Celastrus orbiculatus (Asian bittersweet).
•Centaurea stoebe (spotted knapweed).
•Cirsium vulgare (bull thistle).
•Conium maculatum (poison hemlock).
•Convolvulus arvensis (field bindweed).
•Coronilla varia (crown vetch).
•Dioscorea polystachya (Chinese yam).
•Dipsacus fullonum (common teasel).
•Dipsacus laciniatus (cut-leaved teasel).
•Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive).
•Euonymus fortunei (wintercreeper).
•Euphorbia esula (leafy spurge).
•Frangula alnus (glossy buckthorn).
•Hesperis matronalis (dame’s rocket).
•Humulus japonicus (Japanese hops).
•Lepidium latifolium (pepperweed).
•Lespedeza cuneata (sericea lespedeza).
•Ligustrum obtusifolium (blunt-leaved privet).
•Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle).
•Lonicera maackii (Amur honeysuckle).
•Lonicera morrowii (Morrow’s honeysuckle).
•Lonicera tatarica (Tatarian honeysuckle).
•Lonicera x bella (Bell’s honeysuckle).
•Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stiltgrass).
•Morus alba (white mulberry).
•Phalaris arundinacea (reed canarygrass).
•Phellodendron amurense (Amur cork tree).
•Phragmites australis subspecies australis (common reed).
•Polygonum perfoliatum (mile-a- minute vine).
•Reynoutria japonica (Japanese knotweed).
•Reynoutria sachalinensis (giant knotweed).
•Reynoutria x bohemica (Bohemian knotweed).
•Rhamnus cathartica (common buckthorn).
•Vincetoxicum nigrum (black swallow-wort).
•Vincetoxicum rossicum (pale swallow-wort).