Massachusetts Proposes Ban/Phase-Out of 140+ Plants

Lee Poulsen
Tue, 06 Sep 2005 11:30:18 PDT
I know that some of you live in Massachusetts, so maybe you know more 
about this than what was in this article. But I am disturbed that not 
only is part of one federal government agency busy trying to figure out 
a way to ban plants that they are even remotely worried about, now I 
read (in the latest issue of HortIdeas) that there are state government 
agencies trying to do the same thing only within their state. I am 
totally in favor of controlling plants from invading and completely 
overtaking an ecosystem. But it seems some of the plants Mass. wants to 
ban are pretty ordinary and already growing in that state as well as 
many others. I'm not sure where this will all lead.

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena area, California, USDA Zone 10a

Massachusetts Proposes Ban/Phase-Out of 140+ Plants

On July 11, 2005, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural
Resources published a public notice of and request for
comment on a proposal “to ban/phase-out the importation and
sale of more than 140 plants identified as either noxious or invasive.”
The full text of the notice and a list of the plants to be
banned/phased-out (including species on the Federal Noxious
Weed List and species identified as “invasive,” “likely invasive,”
or “potentially invasive” by the Massachusetts Invasive
Plant Advisory Group) are at, and printed
copies can be obtained by calling 617-626-1775.

The proposal calls for prohibition of importation of the listed
plants into Massachusetts as of January 1, 2006; prohibition
of “sale, trade, distribution, and related activties” for all listed
plants except 12 species commonly sold as ornamentals (these
exceptions will be phased out of commerce by 2007 if herbaceous
and by 2009 if woody); and exceptions to prohibition
and phase-out rules for listed plants under special permits if:

a. There is a significant public benefit in doing so; and
b. Where the risks posed by these species can be adequately

The 12 species that will be phased out include Acer platanoides
(Norway maple), A. pseudoplatanus (sycamore maple),
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry), Euonymus alatus (burning
bush), Iris pseudacorus (yellow iris), Lonicera japonica
(Japanese honeysuckle), L. maackii (Amur honeysuckle), L. morrowii
(Morrow’s honeysuckle), L. × bella (Bell’s honeysuckle),
L. tatarica (Tatarian honeysuckle), Miscanthus sacchariflorus
(plume grass), and Myosotis scorpioides (forget-me-not). Among
the species to be banned by next year are Ailanthus altissima
(tree of heaven), Berberis vulgaris (common barberry), Celastrus
orbiculatus (oriental bittersweet), Ligustrum obtusifolium
(border privet), Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife), Opuntia
aurantiaca (jointed prickly pear), Phellodendron amurense
(Amur cork tree), Phragmites australis (common reed), Pueraria
montana (kudzu), Rhamnus cathartica (common buckthorn),
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust), Rosa multiflora
(multiflora rose), Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry), Trapa natans
(water chestnut), and Tussilago farfara (coltsfoot). Especially
noteworthy, in light of the article above on U.S.D.A. promotion
of autum olive for commercial fruit production*, is the
fact that Eleagnus umbellata is included in the list of species to
be banned as of January 1, 2006.

Existing plantings of the listed plants are not affected by the
proposed ban/phase-out rules.

Written comments on the proposed rules will be accepted
during September 2005; these should be sent to Trevor Battle,
Dept. of Agricultural Resources, 251 Causeway St., Suite 500,
Boston, MA 02114-2151, e-mail
Public meetings regarding the proposed rules are scheduled for
September 13 at Waltham and September 15 at Amherst.
*In the June 2005 HortIdeas (page 69), we reported that U.S.
Department of Agriculture researchers are touting autumn olive
(Elaeagnus umbellata) as a possible commercial fruit crop even
though the species is notorious as an invader of wildlands.
We believe, as we wrote in June, that U.S.D.A. workers who
are charged with addressing problems of invasive species will
be aghast to learn that some in the Department are promoting
commercial orchards of such species. It seems highly inconsistent
for the U.S.D.A. to be preaching to the general public to
avoid planting potential invaders while at the same time working
to foster commercial planting of known invaders!

Reference: Brent L. Black (Fruit Laboratory, Henry A. Wallace
Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Agricultural Research
Service, U.S.D.A., Beltsville, MD 20705), Ingrid M. Fordham,
and Penelope Perkins-Veazie, “Autumnberry (Elaeagnus umbellata):
A Potential Cash Crop,” Journal of the American Pomological
Society 59(3), July 2005, 125-134. (American Pomological
Society, 102 Tyson Bldg., University Park, PA 16802.)

More information about the pbs mailing list