Non-Native Invasive Plants in Northern Virginia and Regional Native Alternatives 

Invasive, non-native plants do not provide the same ecosystem services as natives and have a harmful effect on our environment, not only in the suburban community but also in our forests, parks, and other natural areas. 

Please do not plant these non-native, invasive species and consider removing them from the landscape. Volunteers and natural resource management staff spend many hours and resources to mitigate the spread and the consequences of these and other invasive species. Although there are many non-native plant species that invade our natural areas, the plants listed below are particularly problematic because they are still available in the trade and are sold and planted throughout the region. Consider planting one of the natives listed here as an alternative to these plants. 

Invasive: Acer platanoides, Norway Maple  
NoVA Native Alternatives:
Acer rubrum, Red Maple
Quercus spp., Oaks
Tilia americana, Basswood

Invasive: Akebia quinata, Chocolate Vine or Five-leaf Akebia  
NoVA Native Alternatives:
Gelsemium sempervirens, Carolina or Yellow Jessamine
Lonicera sempervirens, Trumpet or Coral Honeysuckle
Bignonia capreolata, Crossvine

Invasive: Ampelopsis brevipedunculata, Porcelain-Berry
NoVA Native Alternatives:
See alternatives listed above for Akebia

Invasive: Berberis thunbergii, Japanese Barberry  
NoVA Native Alternatives:
Ilex glabra
, Inkberry Holly
Ilex verticillata, Winterberry Holly
Viburnum dentatum, Arrowwood Viburnum
Itea virginica, Virginia Sweetspire

Invasive: Phyllostachys aurea, Golden Bamboo, Fishpole Bamboo, Walking Stick Bamboo  
NoVA Native Alternatives:
Juniperus virginiana, Eastern Redcedar
 
Invasive: Humulus lupulus `Aureus’ , Golden Hops Vine  
NoVA Native Alternatives:
See alternatives listed above for Akebia

Invasive: Liriope muscari, Liriope  
NoVA Native Alternatives:
Carex pensylvanica and flaccosperma, Pennsylvania and Blue Wood Sedge
Elymus virginicus, Virginia Wildrye
Elymus hystrix, Bottlebrush Grass

Invasive: Miscanthus sinensis, Miscanthus
NoVA Native Alternatives:
Schizachyrium scoparium, Little Bluestem
 
Invasive: Pyrus calleryana, Bradford Pear  
NoVA Native Alternatives:
Amelanchier spp., serviceberries
Crataegus spp., hawthorns;
Cercis canadensis, Redbud
Cornus florida, Dogwood
 
Invasive: Hedera helix, English Ivy  
NoVA Native Alternatives:
Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Virginia Creeper
Packera aurea, Golden Ragwort
Ferns
Creeping Phloxes
Asarum canadense, Wild Ginger

Invasive: Euonymous alatus, Burning Bush  
NoVA Native Alternatives:
Vaccinium spp., Blueberries
Viburnum spp
Itea virginica, Virginia Sweetspire

Invasive: Euonymus fortunei, Wintercreeper
NoVA Native Alternatives:
see English Ivy above. 

Invasive: Lonicera japonica, Japanese (Hall’s) Honeysuckle  
NoVA Native Alternatives:  
Lonicera sempervirens, Trumpet Honeysuckle
Gelsemium sempervirens, Yellow Jessamine
Bignonia capreolata, Crossvine

Invasive: Wisteria floribunda and Wisteria sinensis  
NoVA Native Alternatives:
Wisteria frutescens, American Wisteria