Don’t Plant a Pest! North Coast

Ground Covers

Good news! There are no invasive Ground Covers currently listed for this region.

Ornamental Grasses

Good news! There are no invasive Ornamental Grasses currently listed for this region.

Invasive Shrubs of the North Coast

  • Sesbania punicea (wisterias)

    Sesbania punicea
    Sesbania punicea scarlet wisteria; red sesbania; rattlebox; Chinese wisteria

    New to California, spreading along the American River in central California. Also found in the Delta and in northern California. A serious problem in South Africa and Florida. Grows and spreads rapidly along river and stream corridors. Pushing out native vegetation and wildlife. Seeds are moved by washing downstream or are carried by birds.

    Invasive: Do Not Plant

Palms

Good news! There are no invasive Palms currently listed for this region.

Invasive Trees of the North Coast

  • Myoporum (false sandalwood)

    Myoporum laetum_JM DiTomaso
    Myoporum laetum
    Myoporum laetum ngaio tree; false sandalwood; mousehole tree

    Invades along the coast from Sonoma County to San Diego. Forms dense stands with no other vegetation. Can cover large areas. Spread by birds. Leaves and fruits are toxic to wildlife and livestock. Burns easily. Doesn't typically spread in interior areas.

    Invasive: Do Not Plant

  • Schinus spp (pepper trees)

    Schinus terebinthifolius_Brazilian peppertree_JM DiTomaso
    Schinus terebinthifolius
    Schinus terebinthifolius Brazilian pepper tree; Christmas-berry tree; Christmasberry; Florida holly
    Schinus molle_Peruvian peppertree_JM DiTomaso
    Schinus molle
    Schinus molle Peruvian pepper tree; California pepper tree

    Pepper trees are native to South America (despite the fact that Peruvian peppertree is sometimes called California peppertree). Seeds are transported by birds and mammals into natural areas. The aggressive growth of peppers enables them to displace native trees and form dense thickets in natural areas. They produce undesirable suckering and sprout unwanted seedlings. A serious problem in southern California. Less of a problem in the San Francisco Bay Area and Central Valley, but care should be taken if planting near wildlands.

    Invasive: Do Not Plant

  • Ailanthus (tree of heaven)

    Ailanthus altissima
    Ailanthus altissima tree-of-heaven; Chinese sumac; paradise-tree; copal-tree

    Although not commonly sold in nurseries, this tree is sometimes "shared" among gardeners. Tree-of-heaven produces abundant root sprouts that create dense thickets and displace native vegetation. These root sprouts can be produced as far as 50 feet away from the parent tree. In California, it is most abundant along the coast and Sierra foothills, as well as along streams. A single tree can produce up to a million seeds per year.

    Invasive: Do Not Plant

  • Eucalyptus globulus

    Eucalyptus globulus_Tasmanium blue gum_JM DiTomaso
    Eucalyptus globulus
    Eucalyptus globulus blue gum; Tasmanian blue gum; blue gum eucalyptus; common eucalyptus; Southern blue gum; Victorian blue gum

    Found along the coast from Humboldt to San Diego and in the Central Valley. Most invasive in coastal locations. Easily invades native plant communities, causing declines in native plant and animal populations. Fire departments throughout Southern California recommend against using eucalyptus trees for landscaping because they are extremely flammable.

    Invasive: Do Not Plant

  • Elaeagnus angustifolia (Russian olive)

    Elaeagnus angustifolia_ Russian olive_JM DiTomaso
    Elaeagnus angustifolia
    Elaeagnus angustifolia Russian olive; oleaster

    Found throughout California. Able to spread long distances with the help of birds and mammals. Invades river and stream corridors, pushing out native willows and cottonwoods. Reduces water levels. Provides poor wildlife habitat. Serious invader in other western states.

    Invasive: Do Not Plant

  • Tamarix (saltcedar)

    Tamarix aphylla_JM DiTomaso
    Tamarix aphylla
    Tamarix aphylla athel; athel pine; tamarisk; evergreen saltcedar
    Tamarix parviflora
    Tamarix parviflora smallflower tamarisk
    Tamarix ramosissima
    Tamarix ramosissima Chinese tamarisk; fivestamen tamarisk

    A serious invader throughout California and southwestern states. Uses excessive amounts of water, increases soil salinity, changes water courses. Diminishes wildlife habitat, and increases fire hazard. Not commonly sold but still occasionally available.

    Invasive: Do Not Plant

  • Crataegus monogyna

    Crataegus monogyna_English hawthorn_JM DiTomaso
    Crataegus monogyna
    Crataegus monogyna English hawthorn; common hawthorn; oneseed hawthorn; May tree; singleseed hawthorn; azzarola; neapolitan medlar; oneseed hawthorn; whitethorn;

    An established invader of the Pacific Northwest, now spreading through northern California. Capable of long-range dispersal by birds. Creates dense thickets, changing the structure of woodland understories. May hybridize with and threaten native hawthorn species.

    Invasive: Do Not Plant

Recommended Trees for the North Coast

  • Tristaniopsis laurina Alternative Plant Group

    Formal plant; can be trained as a single or multistemmed tree. Mahogany-colored bark peels, revealing new, satiny white bark beneath. Yellow flowers produce a good show. Can be slow-growing. Damaged by very cold winters. Try cultivar 'Elegant'. Evergreen. Zones: 15-24. Height: To 45 ft. Width: 5-30 ft.

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  • Quercus macrocarpa Alternative Plant Group

    Rugged-looking tree with flaky grayish bark. Long, deeply-lobed leaves are glossy green. Large, distinctive acorns covered in fringed cap. Tolerant of poor conditions. Acorns can be a trip hazard. Deciduous. Zones: 1-11, 14-23. Height: 60-75 ft., equally wide when mature.

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  • Styrax japonicus Alternative Plant Group

    Slender, graceful trunk. Broad crown. Leaves may turn red or yellow in fall. Delicate, fragrant, white flowers hang below leaves, creating a layered effect. Deciduous. Zones: 4-9, 14-21. Height: 30 ft., narrow in youth, wide in maturity.

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  • Taxodium distichum Alternative Plant Group

    Delicate, feathery foliage sprays turn reddish-brown before dropping in the fall. Tolerates drought or very wet conditions, and any but the most alkaline soil. Trunk can be buttressed at the base. No pests or diseases. Easy to plant and care for. Tolerates any amount of water. Deciduous. Zones: 2-10, 12-24. Height: 50-70 ft. Width: 20-30 ft.

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  • Michelia doltsopa Alternative Plant Group

    Prune to create a narrow, upright tree. Furry brown buds open to cream or white blossoms. Thin, leathery, dark green leaves are red underneath. Evergreen. Zones 15-24. Height: To 25 ft.

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  • Liriodendron tulipifera Alternative Plant Group

    Straight, columnar trunk with a tall, pyramidal crown. Unique lyre-shaped leaves. Foliage starts bright green, turns bright yellow in fall. Tulip-shaped flowers in late spring are interesting but not showy. Beautiful large shade or lawn tree. Likes slightly acidic, well-drained soil and plenty of room. Deciduous. Zones: 2-12, 14-24. Height: 60-80 ft. Width: To 40 ft.

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  • Metasequoia glyptostroboides Alternative Plant Group

    Soft, pale green needles turn reddish-brown before falling in autumn, leaving a beautiful winter silhouette. Grows very fast when young. Older trees have fluted trunks. Resistant to oak root fungus. Not suitable for very arid regions or the coast. Deciduous. Zones: 3-10, 14-24. Height: To 90 ft. Width: To 20 ft.

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  • Elaeocarpus decipiens Alternative Plant Group

    New leaves rusty and hairy, turning smooth and bright green. Old leaves turn red before dropping. Blooms with tiny, scented, white flowers in clusters followed by small, blue-black, edible fruits. Likes rich, well-drained soil. Needs little pruning. Evergreen. Zones: 8-9, 14-24. Height: 30-60 ft. Width: 20-30 ft.

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  • Eriobotrya deflexa Alternative Plant Group

    Fast-growing and easily trained. New leaves emerge bright copper before turning green. Bunches of creamy white flowers in spring. Easy to plant and care for. Requires well-drained soil. Can be subject to fireblight. Evergreen. Zones: 8-24. Height: 12-30 ft. Width: 15-30 ft.

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  • Eucalyptus nicholii Alternative Plant Group

    One of the cleanest, most graceful eucalyptus, with weeping branches and not too much litter. Crushed leaves smell a bit like peppermint. Furrowed, rich, reddish-brown bark. Damaged by very cold winters. Evergreen. Zones: 5, 6, 8-24. Height: 36-48 ft. Width: 15-36 ft.

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  • Chionanthus retusus Alternative Plant Group

    Blooms like clouds of the whitest, feathery flowers. Handsome bark provides winter interest. Will grow in most central California environments. The olive-like fruits can be a litter problem. May produce a significant amount of pollen. Deciduous. Zones: 3-9, 14-24. Height: To 20 ft., not quite as wide.

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Invasive Aquatic Plants of the North Coast

  • Eichhornia crassipes (water hyacinth)

    Eichhornia_crassipes_ by By Wouter Hagens
    Eichhornia crassipes
    Eichhornia crassipes water hyacinth

    Reputed to be the fastest-growing plant in the world! Can double in size in a week during hot weather. Forms dense mats that impede water flow. Seeds can live 15-20 years. The State of California has spent $45 million over 15 years to control water hyacinth in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

    Invasive: Do Not Plant

  • Hydrilla verticillata (water thyme)

    Hydrilla verticillata
    Hydrilla verticillata hydrilla; water thyme; Florida elodea

    Illegal to sell or possess in California. Has arrived in California mixed with shipments of water lilies and as a mislabeled aquatic plant. Fragments quickly start new colonies.

    Invasive: Do Not Plant

  • Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)

    Lythrum salicaria
    Lythrum salicaria purple loosestrife

    Invades streambanks and wetlands throughout the U.S. Persists year to year from root buds and from the root crown. Although not commonly sold in California, this plant is available for purchase on the internet. One plant can produce 2.7 million seeds. Has the potential to infest rice fields.

    Invasive: Do Not Plant

  • Ludwigia (waterprimrose)

    Ludwigia hexapetala
    Ludwigia hexapetala creeping waterprimrose; Uruguay waterprimrose
    Ludwigia peploides
    Ludwigia peploides floating water primrose; California waterprimrose

    Crowds out native plants and reduces water quality. Dense mats slow water movement and create habitat for mosquito larva, which can carry West Nile virus. Although there are native Ludwigia, do not collect them from the wild.

    Invasive: Do Not Plant

  • Iris pseudacorus (yellowflag iris)

    Iris pseudacorus_yellowflag iris flower_ JM Di Tomaso
    Iris pseudacorus
    Iris pseudacorus yellowflag iris; pale yellow iris

    Forms colonies along streambanks. Listed as a noxious weed in Nevada, Expanding in the Pacific Northwest. Uncommon in California, but causes serious problems in other regions with similar climates.

    Invasive: Do Not Plant

  • Salvinia molesta (giant salvinia)

    Salvinia_molesta_Issempa_Wikimedia Commons
    Salvinia molesta
    Salvinia molesta giant salvinia; karibaweed; water velvet; African pyle; aquarium watermoss; water fern; koi kandy

    Illegal to sell in the US. Floating mats up to 3 ft. thick reduce light and dissolved oxygen in the water so that few living things can survive. Common salvinia (Salvinia minima) may be sold, but species are difficult to tell apart.

    Invasive: Do Not Plant

  • Egeria densa

    Egeria densa
    Egeria densa Brazilian egeria; egeria

    Infests 7000 acres in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Aggressively invades natural waterways, displacing native aquatic plants and forming dense mats that impede water flow.

    Invasive: Do Not Plant

  • Myriophyllum spicatum (spike watermilfoil)

    Myriophyllum spicatum
    Myriophyllum spicatum spike watermilfoil

    The most widespread submerged invasive aquatic plant in California and a serious problem in Lake Tahoe. Stems are brittle and break easily, starting new infestations when spread by boats or water birds.

    Invasive: Do Not Plant

  • Myriophyllum aquaticum (watermilfoil)

    Myriophyllum_aquaticum_By André Karwath
    Myriophyllum aquaticum
    Myriophyllum aquaticum parrotfeather; Brazilian watermilfoil; parrotfeather watermilfoil; thread-of-life;

    Forms dense mats that impede water flow. Stems are brittle and break easily. Spread by boats or migrating water birds. Uncommon in California but has the potential to spread.

    Invasive: Do Not Plant

  • Arundo (aquatic)

    Arundo donax_Giant reed_ JM Di Tomaso
    Arundo donax
    Arundo donax giant reed

    A serious problem in coastal streams. Dense growth damages habitat, while creating a fire and flood hazard. Variegated varieties are also problematic and are not recommended.

    Invasive: Do Not Plant

Recommended Aquatic Plants for the North Coast

  • Sagittaria spp. Alternative Plant Group

    Sagittaria latifolia arrowhead
    Sagittaria montevidensis
    Sagittaria montevidensis arrowhead
    Sagittaria lancifolia white swan, red swan

    Pond Margin or Bog . Striking arrow-shaped leaves and white flowers. Grows in moist soil or water 6 inches or more deep. S. latifolia grows 12 to 20 inches; S. montevidensis to 4 feet. Also try S. lancifolia (white swan or red swan) for a specimen plant with green or red stems and a 7-foot flower spike.

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    North Coast native
  • Mimulus aquatics Alternative Plant Group

    Mimulus guttatus
    Mimulus guttatus common yellow monkeyflower

    Pond Margin or Bog. Annual or perennial. Fills out a 4 feet x 4 feet space in spring and summer. May die back then return the next year. Yellow flowers with reddish spots resemble snapdragons. Hummingbirds like it; deer don't. Also try M. cardinalis for red flowers.

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    North Coast native
  • Nuphar polysepalum Alternative Plant Group

    Nuphar polysepala
    Nuphar polysepala yellow pondlily

    Floating or Rooted Emergent Plants. A native plant with a dramatic yellow flower and round leaves up to a foot in diameter. Foliage is submerged in winter and emerges in spring. May take more effort to find for sale.

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    North Coast native
  • Polygonum amphibium Alternative Plant Group

    Polygonum amphibium var. stipulaceum
    Polygonum amphibium var. stipulaceum water smartweed

    Submerged Plants. A versatile, creeping plant that does well in water depths ranging from moist soil to 4 feet of water over the crown. Long, narrow, floating leaves, and bright-pink flowers.

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    North Coast native
  • Pontedaria cordata Alternative Plant Group

    Pontedaria cordata
    Pontedaria cordata pickerel weed

    Pond Margins. Heart-shaped leaves surround dramatic flower spikes. Excellent filtration ability. Place in containers in 1 foot of water. 3 to 4 feet tall, 2 to 2 1/2 feet wide.

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    North Coast native
  • Iris ensata Alternative Plant Group

    Iris ensata 'Variegata'
    Iris ensata 'Variegata' Japanese iris

    Pond Margin or Bog

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  • Iris laevigata Alternative Plant Group

    Iris laevigata and cultivars
    Iris laevigata and cultivars laevigata iris

    Pond Margin or Bog. A true water-loving iris that will do well in 6 inches of water. Flowers in white, purple, lavender, and pink. Yellow-blooming varieties are available, but rare. Leaves to 18 inches tall.

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  • Iris missouriensis Alternative Plant Group

    Iris missouriensis, I. longipetala
    Iris missouriensis, I. longipetala western blue flag iris

    Pond Margins. A native iris with flowers ranging from white to blue to lavender. Leaves to 2 feet tall. Likes open, sunny, moist areas. Smaller in scale than yellowflag iris.

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    North Coast native
  • Iris sibirica Alternative Plant Group

    Iris sibirica and hybrids
    Iris sibirica and hybrids Siberian iris

    Pond Margin or Bog.

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  • Juncus effusus Alternative Plant Group

    Juncus effusus common rush

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    North Coast native
  • Ligularia wilsoniana Alternative Plant Group

    Ligularia wilsoniana
    Ligularia wilsoniana Wilson's ligularia

    Pond Margin or Bog. A tall and showy wetland perennial with spikes of bright yellow, daisy-like flowers. Stems grow to six feet tall.

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  • Lobelia spp Alternative Plant Group

    Lobelia cardinalis
    Lobelia cardinalis lobelia
    Lobelia fulgens lobelia
    Lobelia siphilica lobelia

    Pond Margin Plants. A spectacular blooming bog plant. Tubular flowers resemble honeysuckle or salvia and attract hummingbirds. L. cardinalis and L. fulgens to 6 feet with red flowers; L. siphilica grows 2 to 3 feet with blue flowers.

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    North Coast native
  • Lysochiton americanum Alternative Plant Group

    Lysochiton americanum
    Lysochiton americanum yellow skunk cabbage

    Pond Margin or Bog

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    North Coast native
  • Marsilea spp. Alternative Plant Group

    Marsilea spp. water clover

    Floating or Rooted Emergent Plants.

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    North Coast native
  • Elodea canadensis Alternative Plant Group

    Elodea canadensis
    Elodea canadensis waterweed

    Submerged Plants. One of the best oxygenating plants. Has dark green leaves and provides food and shelter for fish. Dies back in winter. Grows best in fine sand but may need to be controlled in small ponds. (Sometimes also sold under the name anacharis.)

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    North Coast native
  • Brasenia schreberi Alternative Plant Group

    Brasenia schreberi
    Brasenia schreberi watershield

    Floating or Rooted Emergent Plants.

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    North Coast native
  • Ceratophyllum demersum Alternative Plant Group

    Ceratophyllum demersum
    Ceratophyllum demersum coontail

    Submerged Plants. A rootless, deciduous perennial with slender stems and forked leaves. Tolerates shade and hard water. Good oxygenator.

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    North Coast native
  • Chondropetalum aquatics Alternative Plant Group

    Chondropetalum tectorum
    Chondropetalum tectorum Cape thatching reed

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  • Cornus sericea Alternative Plant Group

    Cornus sericea
    Cornus sericea redtwig dogwood
    Cornus sericea 'Flaviramea'
    Cornus sericea 'Flaviramea' yellowtwig dogwood

    Pond Margin or Bog. Brilliant red or yellow foliage and colorful winter twigs. Provide good screens where water is present. to 8 feet tall and 10 feet wide. Cut roots to control spread.

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    North Coast native
  • Alisma plantago-aquatica Alternative Plant Group

    Alisma plantago-aquatica
    Alisma plantago-aquatica common waterplantain

    Pond Margin or Bog. Herbaceous perennial with flowers heads arranged in whorls of white, pink, or lavender. Blooms form a pyramid-like shape. Suitable for medium to large ponds, but may overwhelm a small one. 12 to 36 inches tall and up to 18 inches spread.

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    North Coast native
  • Aponogeton distachyon Alternative Plant Group

    Aponogeton distachyon
    Aponogeton distachyon cape pondweed

    Floating or Rooted Emergent Plants. Crisp white flowers with a vanilla scent are held on the water surface. Prefers cool water. May overwhelm a small pond.

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  • Azolla filiculoides Alternative Plant Group

    Azolla filiculoides
    Azolla filiculoides Pacific mosquito fern, fairy fern

    Floating or Rooted Emergent Plants. Tiny, free-floating perennial fern. Excellent pond cover for fish and other wildlife. Turns reddish-purple in the fall. To 1/2 inch high, with a spreading habit. May overwhelm a small pond.

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    North Coast native
  • Baccharis salicifolia Alternative Plant Group

    Baccharis salicifolia mulefat

    Pond Margin or Bog.

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    North Coast native
  • Bambusa aquatics Alternative Plant Group

    Bambusa multiplex 'Alphonso-Karr'
    Bambusa multiplex 'Alphonso-Karr' 'Alphonso-Karr' bamboo
    Bambusa multiplex 'Golden Goddess'
    Bambusa multiplex 'Golden Goddess' 'Golden Goddess' bamboo
    Bambusa multiplex
    Bambusa multiplex bamboo (clumping species only)

    Pond Margin or Bog. Useful as a hedge or screen. Rhizomes of clumping species stay close to the plant and will not invade surrounding soil. Height varies by cultivar, up to 35 feet. Do not plant running bamboos, which spread aggressively.

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