Cotton Thistle

Common Name: Cotton Thistle

Scientific Name: Onopordum acanthium

Location: Utah Lake Field Station

Invasive: Yes

Onopordum acanthium, or better known by its nickname “cotton thistle” is a plant native to Europe and Asia. Cotton thistle grows abundantly in North America but is not native to the continent. The plant has spikey and rough leaves and grows purple-pink flowers. Cotton thistle blooms during the summer. It requires dry heat to thrive normally. 

Read More

Russian Olive Tree

Common Name: Russian Olive Tree

Scientific Name: Elaeagnus angustifolia

Location: Utah Lake Field Station

Invasive: Yes

Native to Eurasia, this plant is sold in nurseries and is aggressively competitive with native species. Class 4 weed, prohibited state-wide.

Common Reed

Common Name: Common Reed/Phragmites

Scientific Name: Phragmites australis

Location: Utah Lake Field Station

Invasive: Yes

Native to Europe, this plant can be found in wetlands, marshes, and waterways. An aggressive perennial, phragmites outcompete native plants and displace native animals. Phragmites is extremely prolific in Utah Lake. Class 3 weed.

Cottonwood Tree

Common Name: Frémont’s cottonwood

Scientific Name: Populus  fremontii

Location: Utah Lake Field Station

Invasive: No

This specific cottonwood was named after 19th century American explorer John C. Frémont and is found in mid to northern Mexico and in the Southwestern United States. They’re called cottonwood because in the spring they drop their seeds that look like cotton balls.

Silver Sagebrush

Common Name: Silver Sagebrush

Scientific Name: Artemisia cana

Location: Utah Lake Field Station

Invasive: No

Sagebrush is a member of the sunflower family. Silver Sagebrush can be found across the western United States and are extremely prolific in Utah. Sage provides food and shelter for many species of animals, including Sage Grouse, a near-threatened species. The leaves emit a very pleasant smell and the color is a greenish-blue.

Common Chicory

Common Name: Common Chicory

Scientific Name: Cichorium intybus

Location: Utah Lake Field Station

Invasive: Yes

Chicory was introduced as a pasture forage plant, but was found to be too coarse to be an effective pasture plant. The very young leaves can be eaten fresh in salads and the older, bitter leaves can be boiled several times and eaten. The best known use of this plant is as a coffee additive or substitute. The roots are roasted and ground to make chicory coffee.

Showy Milkweed

Common Name: Showy Milkweed

Scientific Name: Asclepias speciosa

Location: Utah Lake Field Station

Invasive: No

Showy Milkweed is a fragrant, colorful perennial native to the United States. It’s fragrant flowers come in yellow, white, pink, or purple. This is an important plant, as it is the only host plant the Monarch butterfly will lay its eggs on. The leaves, flowers, and sap from this plant are all poisonous, which means when the monarch caterpillars hatch and begin to eat this plant, they become poisonous as well. Growing milkweed in flowerbeds and gardens is one way to help save the Monarch Butterflies.

Common Sunflower

Common Name: Common Sunflower

Scientific Name: Helianthus annuus

Location: Utah Lake Field Station

Invasive: No

Native to the Americas and now found across Europe as well, the common sunflower is so named for the large sun-shaped flower, and how widespread it has grown in recent times. Most cultivated species of sunflower are selectively bred from this species.

Perennial Pepperweed

Common Name: Perennial Pepperweed, Tall Whitetop

Scientific Name: Lepidium latifolium

Location: Utah Lake Field Station

Invasive: Yes

Native to southern Europe, Asia, and the Himalayas, this common roadside plant has been introduced to North America and Australia. It is found commonly in wetland habitats and sagebrush habitats, and is a threat to many marshes in the united states. With an extensive root network of up to nine feet, removal of this plant can be difficult, but careful weeding in early summer can help to slow the growth of this invasive species.

Bittersweet Nightshade

Common Name: Bittersweet Nightshade, Snakeberry, Blue Bindweed, Poisonberry

Scientific Name: Solanum dulcamara

Location: Utah Lake Field Station

Invasive: Yes

Introduced to North America from Europe and Asia, Bittersweet Nightshade occurs in a wide range of habitats, such as woodlands, scrubland, hedges, and marshes where it prefers dark and shaded undergrowth. Every part of this plant is poisonous to both humans and livestock. Although fatal human poisons are rare, several cases have been documented.

American Licorice

Common Name: American Licorice, Wild Licorice

Scientific Name: Glycyrrhiza lepidota

Location: Utah Lake Field Station

Invasive: No

Different from the European species used to flavor licorice candy, Wild Licorice does have a licorice-flavored root. This plant is a popular host plant for the Silver-Spotted Skipper Butterfly.

Moth Mullein

Common Name: Moth Mullein

Scientific Name: Verbascum blattaria

Location: Utah Lake Field Station

Invasive: Yes

Moth Mullein is originally native to Europe and Asia, and was introduced in North America where it has become naturalized. With a tall attractive flower stem that produces both yellow or white flowers, the Moth Mullein’s common name refers to the resemblance of the flowers to moths. It prefers to grow in pastures, abandoned fields, vacant lots, and along roadsides.

Yellow Sweetclover

Common Name: Yellow Sweetclover, Yellow Clover, Yellow Meililot

Scientific Name: Melilotus officinalis

Location: Utah Lake Field Station

Invasive: Yes

Despite being an invasive species from Eurasia, Sweetclover has become naturalized throughout much of the world. Mule deer, antelope, sage grouse, quail, and other animals will all happily forage on sweetclover or their seeds. It was considered a weed in North America until the early 1900’s when its value as a range and pasture plant was realized. It has been used extensively for rangeland seedings, soil stabilization, and reclamation projects as well as for pasture. Despite this, it has been viewed once more as a weedy species by many land managers due to its ability to establish in disturbed areas and out compete with native species.

Houndstongue

Common Name: Houndstongue

Scientific Name: Cynoglossum officinale

Location: Utah Lake Field Station

Invasive: Yes

A toxic and invasive weed native to Europe, Houndstongue lives in wet environments, sand dunes, and hedges across the United States. If animals feed on Houndstongue they may become poisoned, and this plant also produces many bur-like seeds that cling to animals and clothing like velcro. If any population of Houndstongue is found, it should be dug up and removed before the plant produces burs in order to help control the spread of this invasive plant.

Bracted Vervain

Common Name: Bracted Vervain, Prostrate Vervain, Carpet Vervain

Scientific Name: Verbena bracteata

Location: Utah Lake Field Station

Invasive: No

This small plant prefers growth in many types of habitats, especially disturbed soils. Often found in gravel parking lots or other disturbed soil areas, this plant has spreading stems up to 30 centimeters long forming a low mat on the ground.

Purple Loosestrife

Common Name: Spiked Loosestrife, Purple Lythrum

Scientific NameLythrum salicaria

Location: Utah Lake Field Station

Invasive: Yes