Weeds Laws in Illinois

All weeds are not created equal. Some weeds are much more difficult to manage than others, thus proper identification is important. This is especially true for the ever increasing number of invasive plants that can quickly overtake an area if not kept under control.

Invasive plant management happens at many levels, including legislative. The Illinois General Assembly recently amended the Illinois Exotic Weed Act to add more species to that list. Plants on this list cannot be sold or distributed in Illinois without a permit. They include:

  • Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
  • multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora)
  • purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
  • Buckthorns: common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), glossy buckthorn (R. frangula), saw-toothed buckthorn (R. arguta), dahurian buckthorn (R. davurica), Japanese buckthorn (R. japonica), Chinese buckthorn (R. utilis),
  • kudzu (Pueraria lobata)

In 2015, Illinois legislators added several new plants to the exotic weed act list. These plants too cannot be sold or distributed in Illinois without a permit. They include:

  • exotic bush honeysuckles (Lonicera maackii, L. tatarica, L. morrowii, and L. fragrantissima)
  • exotic olives (Elaeagnus umbellata, E. pungens, E. angustifolia)
  • salt cedar (all members of the Tamarix genus)
  • poison hemlock (Conium maculatum)
  • Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)
  • Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)
  • lesser celandine (Ficaria verna)
  • teasel (all members of the Dipsacus genus)
  • Japanese, giant, and Bohemian knotweed (Fallopia japonica, syn. Polygonum cuspidatum; F. sachalinensis; and F. x bohemica, resp.)

Illinois also has a Noxious Weed Act. These plants must be controlled on land you own or work on. These plants include:

  • Marijuana (Cannabis sativa L.)
  • Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense)
  • Perennial Sowthistle (Sonchus arvensis)
  • Musk Thistle (Carduus nutans)
  • Perennial members of the sorghum genus, including johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense), sorghum almum, and other johnsongrass X sorghum crosses with rhizomes
  • Kudzu (Pueraria labata)
  • Only noxious within the corporate limits of cities, villages, and incorporated towns, include Giant Ragweed (Ambrosia trifida L.) and Common Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.)