A Field Guide to Non-Native Species of Eastern Massachusetts








Welcome to the Non-Native Species of Eastern Massachusetts Field Guide! We found the species for this field guide on the Brandeis University campus in Waltham, MA, and in Newton and Belmont, MA. This guide contains non-native species, many of which are highly invasive.


As we searched for species to include in our field guide, one of the questions we asked ourselves was, how long must a species grow in our area before we begin to consider it native? What if it has been here for three hundred years? Do we still consider it non-native? We struggled with this question, and we were never able to answer it fully. We followed the categorizations given by our field guides: the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Wildflowers of the Eastern Region, Peterson's Wildflower Field Guide to Northeastern/North-central North America, but we still believe the question remains to be answered.

There are three ways to navigate our website:

  1. If you know either the common name, the scientific name, or the family name of the species, just click on the names link.
  2. If you are wondering whether a species that you've seen around Massachusetts is non-native, we suggest you click on the characteristics link. This link will take you to step by step questions to identify your non-native species.
  3. If you are interested in the invasiveness of these alien species, click on the invasiveness link. This page sorts the species according to their effect on native species.
  4. If you have a good idea on what species you are looking at and would like to look at two of them side-by-side, click on the comparison link.


We have also included a glossary of terms. Click on any highlighted word, and you will be taken to its definition.

Every page has a link to this Home page, so if you are confused, you can always come back and start over.

We created this website as a part of a field biology class at Brandeis University, and we would like to thank our professor, Dan Perlman, for all of his help with every stage of the process. Now we will leave you to your searching. Good luck!



Unless otherwise specified, all text, photographs, and drawings are Copyright (c) by Shu-Yee Chen and Deborah Hamer 2003. No part of this page may be reproduced without prior written consent of the authors.