Field Guide to Invasive Plants in Southern Forests

The U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station publication A Field Guide for the Identification of Invasive Plants in Southern Forests provides a comprehensive identification guide to nonnative trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, ferns and forbs currently invading forests and other natural areas of the southeastern United States.

The information included in the guide is also available as an application for iPhones, iPods, and iPads called Invasive Plants in Southern Forests.

Jim Miller, SRS emeritus scientist and the lead author of the guide, is one of the foremost authorities on invasive plants in the South; co-authors are SRS research technician Erwin Chambliss and Auburn University research fellow and extension specialist Nancy Lowenstein.

Whether they were introduced accidentally or brought in for livestock forage or ornamental use, nonnative invasive plants have left an environment where they are kept in check by insects or disease, and compete unfairly with the native vegetation.

“Southern forests are literally choked by kudzu, oriental bittersweet, and privet,” said Miller. “While most people are aware of these first three invaders, many do not realize the problems that ornamental plants such as periwinkle, burning bush, and English ivy can cause.”

Miller’s invasive plant guide includes identification information, photos, and images for 56 plant species invading southern forests and natural areas. The book’s appendix contains the most complete list of nonnative invasive plants in the 13 Southern states, providing command and scientific names for 310 species, including aquatic invaders.

In 2010, SRS published A Management Guide for Nonnative Invasive Plants of Southern Forests, which Miller co-authored with Steven Manning, president of Invasive Plant Control, Inc., and Stephen Enloe, Auburn University weed management extension specialist. This second guide covers methods for controlling invasive plants.

For more information, email Jim Miller at

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