ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) confirmed in 2019 five species of weeds on the state’s Noxious Weed Prohibited Eradicate List for the first time in eight counties.

Weeds categorized as Prohibited Eradicate are the worst types of weeds. The law requires species on this list to have all above- and below-ground plant parts destroyed because the weeds may be harmful to public health, the environment, public roads, crops, livestock or other property.

The new finds included poison hemlock in Nobles County, as well as in Clay and Rice counties. Other discoveries included black swallow-wort in Washington County, cutleaf teasel in Blue Earth County, oriental bittersweet in Nicollet and Rice counties and Palmer amaranth in Houston and Lincoln counties.

Poison hemlock is a highly toxic plant that looks like wild carrot and grows in moist areas and along rights-of-way. Black swallow-wort is a viney milkweed that overtakes both sunny and shady habitats and is toxic to monarch butterflies. Cutleaf teasel forms dense monocultures in sunny grasslands and on riverbanks.

Oriental bittersweet is a woody vine that overtakes forests, and Palmer amaranth is a high-profile noxious weed of row crops. The MDA publishes media releases on noxious weed discoveries as soon as any information can be made public.

Collaboration with multiple agencies and organizations throughout the state, including county agricultural inspectors, township supervisors and city mayors, helps the MDA successfully detect noxious weeds on the eradicate list and confirm unrecognized species.

To report a noxious weed, contact the MDA’s Arrest the Pest line at arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us or 1-888-545-6684.