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Invasive and Exotic Species

Invasive: Webster’s New World Dictionary defines "invasive" as, "the onset or appearance of something harmful or troublesome, as a disease." Generally, an invasive species is one that displays rapid growth and spread, allowing it to establish over large areas.

Natives: are generally defined as species that occurred naturally in a specific locale before European settlement. It's important to note that a "native" to NJ can be considered "invasive" in other parts of the United States and the world.

History: Large-scale changes in flora and fauna have resulted since European settlement and the introduction of exotic plants and animals. Native plants help sustain native wildlife like butterflies, birds, mammals, reptiles, beneficial insects, and other fauna.

Below is a list of Introduced species, web sites for more information and some facts about how these species affect New Jersey.

Note: This is NOT an official list of Invasive and Exotic Species. This topic is controversial and some of these species may or may not be considered invasive or exotic, depending on definitions used. Other species, not on this list, may also be considered invasive and/or exotic.

Websites for more information on Introduced Species

Plants
  • Purple Loosestrife - Lythrum salicaria
  • Common Reed - Phragmites australis
  • Multiflora Rose - Rosa multiflora
  • Autumn Olive - Elaeagnus umbellata

The following documents require Adobe Acrobat.
An Overview of Nonindigenous Plant Species in New Jersey - NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection
Mistaken Identity? Invasive Plants and their Native Look-Alikes - An identification guide for the Mid-Atlantic. NEW

Animals
Insects and Others

Introduced Diseases

Last Update May 7, 2013