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New Species Added to the Illinois Exotic Weed Act

September 24, 2003

Illinois lawmakers have been hard at work lately and have legally designated seven species as “exotic,” including kudzu and six species of buckthorn. See below for a current list of species detailed in this law. The Illinois Exotic Weed Act does not require control of these species but instead states that “it shall be unlawful for any person . . . to buy, sell, offer for sale, distribute or plant . . . exotic weeds without a permit issued by the Department of Natural Resources. Such permits shall be issued only for experiments into controlling and eradicating exotic weeds or for research to demonstrate that a variety of a species listed in this Act is not an exotic weed.” The Act defines exotic weeds as “plants not native to North America, which when planted either spread vegetatively or naturalize and degrade natural communities, reduce the value of fish and wildlife habitat, or threaten an Illinois endangered or threatened species. . . . Violators of this Act shall be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor. When the violation is a continuing offense, each day shall be considered a separate violation.” Furthermore, “exotic weeds offered for sale in Illinois . . . (to Illinois residents) are subject to confiscation and destruction by agents of the Department of Natural Resources.” However, commercially propagated exotic weeds for sale outside Illinois are permissible. This amendment is this Act’s first since enacted in 1985. Some may describe these newly added weeds as evil. The House bill was assigned the number 666. Coincidence?

Exotic weeds of Illinois

Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)

Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora)

Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

Common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)

Glossy buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula)

Saw-toothed buckthorn (Rhamnus arguta)

Dahurian buckthorn (Rhamnus davurica)

Japanese buckthorn (Rhamnus japonica)

Chinese buckthorn (Rhamnus utilis)

Kudzu (Pueraria lobata)

Author: Michelle Wiesbrook


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