Springtime provides a great opportunity to find and report several invasive species.  Since many of our native trees and shrubs have not yet started to leaf out, invasive species with either early leaf growth of early flowering can be easily found.  

Here are three species that are particularly visible in early spring.

Callery Pear (Pyrus calleryana)

This species, often better known by the name of one of its ornamental varieties, Bradford pear, is starting to be found escaping throughout Illinois.  Because it grows in open areas and flowers much earlier than most other shrubs, it is extremely easliy found at this time of year.  Look for patches of white flowering shrubs or small trees along roadways, in old fields and in other distubed areas across the state.  To learn more about Callery pear, go to http://www.invasive.org/browse/subinfo.cfm?sub=10957 orhttp://niipp.net/files/niipp/files/2011/01/Callery%20pear%20homeowners%20fact%20sheet%20FINAL.pdf

Lesser Celandine (Ficaria verna or Ranunculus ficaria)
This small spring empheral forb is being found in bottomland woods in northern Illinois and can impact our native wildflowers.  The showy yellow flowers often lead people into thinking this is a desirable native species, but don't let its looks fool you, it is a serious invader that we do not yet have a clear idea of where it is invading in Illinois.  This is a species that we definitely want more information on any infestations you know about.  To learn more about lesser celandine, go to http://www.invasive.org/browse/subinfo.cfm?sub=3069

Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)
This is no new invader!  Unfortunately garlic mustard is widespread throughout Illinois.  If you do not yet have it on your land, then you need to make every effort to keep it that way!  Scouting your woods in the early spring is the best way to find new infestations of garlic mustard and will allow you to take quick action before new seeds are produced in late spring.  To learn more about garlic mustard, go tohttp://www.rtrcwma.org/Garlic_Mustard.pdf orhttp://www.invasive.org/browse/subinfo.cfm?sub=3005.

This information is sourced from http://illinoisisam.blogspot.com/2014/04/keep-eye-out-for-invasive-plants-this.html

 Submitted by Mary B.