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Early emerging invasive species

April 2, 2020

The Squill Hunt is on, but it’s not the only invasive plant starting to show itself! Today I got my first report of deadly poison hemlock. 

Minnesota is a national leader in using technology and citizen scientists to help coordinate cross-agency invasive species work. EDDMapS is the tool we highly recommend and use regularly to report invasive species that have escaped into Minnesota’s natural areas. You can access EDDMapS on your mobile device by downloading the Great Lakes Early Detection Network App (GLEDN) and enabling it to access your pictures and geolocation.

Through the smartphone app you can view pictures and identification information for hundreds of invasive species AND report suspected invasive species immediately. Once you upload your report, it feeds immediately into EDDMapS, which generates an email to a select group of professionals who verify each species—that is how today’s poison hemlock report made its way to me.

Green leaves of European buckthorn in front of a winter forest.
The bright green leaves of European buckthorn are easy to spot in the early spring. Photo: Steven Katovich, Bugwood.org

Species that are starting to be obvious in the landscape now include squill, poison hemlock and garlic mustard. Very shortly buckthorn and honeysuckle will start to leaf out as well—long before our natives, which will make them very noticeable. While you’re on walks close to home, see if you can spot any of these invasive species. Take a few photos (high quality photos make verification much easier) and report using the GLEDN app.

Angie Gupta is an Extension forestry educator based in Rochester, MN. Her work focuses on landowner outreach and invasive species management.

Related topics: Natural Resources News
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