Collect them all: Invasive species identification cards

by Ellie Rogers

(Photo by Paul Raymaker for FMR)

At this field season's volunteer events, we handed out invasive species collector's cards as a guide (and a thank you) for our intrepid volunteers.

Each card features all the specifics you need to identify the invasive plant in the field, plus tips on how to stop the spread in your own yard. Showcasing hand-drawn identification illustrations by FMR volunteer Isaac Passwater, the cards are beautiful as well as useful.

Volunteers collected all four by attending stewardship events featuring each species from garlic mustard and spotted knapweed in the spring to buckthorn and sumac in the later summer and fall.

Now that the field season is drawing to a close, we're sharing them with everybody.

Invader #1: Garlic mustard

How to identify garlic mustard card

Download the full collector's card or the flyer.

Invader #2: Spotted knapweed

How to identify spotted knapweed

Download the full collector's card or the flyer.

Invader #3: Common buckthorn

How to identify buckthorn

Download the collector's card or the flyer.

Invader #4: Sumac

(Sumac? Yes, sumac! Although native and non-invasive in some habitats, sumac can be invasive to our prairies and oak savannas. It's a good reminder that not all invasives are non-native, and not all natives are non-invasive.)

How to identify sumac

Download the full collector's card or the flyer.

How do invasive species create so much ecological harm?

Forests, prairies and savannas all work best when they're shared. But invasive species spread rapidly and make it hard for other plants to grow — plants that help hold soil in place, plants where birds nest, plants that make up vibrant, interconnected habitat.

Overgrowth of invasive species can cause habitat breakdown, erosion of soil into waterways, the spread of plant diseases and more. That's why we focus so much on removing invasive species and replacing them with diverse plants at our restoration sites. Join us!

Read more from the conservation blog.