Mission: Invasive Species


Research Question

Where are the invasive species in Maine? Where aren't they?

You're invited

The Vital Signs community is looking for invasive species in coastal, freshwater, and upland ecosystems across Maine. Join us! Report where you find them and where you don't find them.

Mission steps

The magnitude of student and citizen involvement promises to build a heightened level of public awareness and a meaningful body of scientific knowledge that is essential for biologists and resource managers committed to addressing invasive species issues.
David Littell, Maine Department of Environmental Protection

1. Print an invasive species ID card

2. Print an Upland Species Survey datasheet

3. Go out and look for the invasive species

4. Go to your My Vital Signs page (link in upper right) to add your "found" or "not found" observation

5. Check out the Analysis Mission to figure out how your observation fits and what it means

Why this Mission matters

Invasive species affect Maine's native species and natural ecosystem processes, impact our economy, and influence our relationship with and reliance on our environment. Knowing where invasive species are will help scientists and resource managers target their own research efforts most efficiently. Finding invasive species before they establish populations will keep Maine relatively free of invasive species compared with states to our south and west.

Knowing where a species has been looked for but NOT found is just as important as knowing where it has been found. It offers critical insight into species ranges, seasonal or annual fluctuations, species movement, and habitat preferences. It establishes an important baseline of information from which we can see how a place changes with time.

Maine is a big place. Looking for invasive species along Maine's 32,000 miles of rivers and streams, 6,000 lakes and ponds, 5,000 miles of coastline, and millions of acres of forests, fields, and developed areas is a sizable challenge. But this statewide Vital Signs community is making it happen!


What can you do to control Japanese knotweed in your yard because I have found some and it is start to grow bigger and is spreading.

What should you do if there is Shad in your pond?

So I'm back again to tell you what the "Fallopia japonica" of japanese knotweed looks like! First of all what you need to look for is leaves in the winter they look like bare stems that form a zig zag pattern along their length . Knotweed loses its leaves in late fall, but a few dead leaves still may be present. The stems are like bamboo and hallow and the knotweed stem has bumpy. The seed of the fallopia japonica are edible!!

The Fallopia Japonica has a stem that has swollen joints (just like bamboo) that grow in a zig-zag pattern. The leaves grow from the points in a zig-zag pattern. When you think that you have seen Fallopia Japonica then look at the leaves the leaves are large and oval. The plant it self is a thick bush that will get to up to 3 meters tall. The largest man that used to live on earth was a little over 3 meters tall so these plants can get to be very big. In September and October you should look for small white flowers that grow in finger-like bunches. After the die in November look for leaves and stems that are dead (they are still alive though). I hope you have a nice day and don't find this invasive species.

The Japanese Knotweed smells very sweet and looks like Ruhbarb.

I think this project is fun!!!

My class has found the "Fallopia japonica" or japanese knotweed. As you may know it is a invasive species so we are hoping not to find it anywhere else. We have done some research and found out this plant can be turned into jelly,pie and even to drink! Isn't that weird? Do we know if its really edible? How do we find this out? Well go out and do some research for your self and find out! To learn more about this invasive species read some of my class mates comments to find out! They have really done a good job of finding out what this species actually is! We have found allot of things on this plant. Do we know if it's really healthy and is it okay to eat or drink? Should it be used in a daily diet for people to eat ? Go on the internet and find it out I will be commenting every day to tell you out observations and if its okay to use!! I really think that we should find out more things about this! My class is bringing in allot of Fallopia japonica to make some of these delicious treats and pictures will be yet to come!!!! Have a great day!!

Is the Japanese Knotweed really edible?

Only the shoots are edible

We found the stem to be hollow and long with big leaves!

So far the only place we've spotted the Japanese Knotweed was is one of my classmates yard. Hopefully we don't find it anywhere else!

We have found it in Maine hope we dont find it again.

Sadly we have found Japanese Knotweed.

I hope we don't find what we are looking for either, I just don't get what is so bad about it???

The bad thing is that is dosen't belong here .

My group is very lucky so far. The only place that we have found it was in one of my class mates yards. My class is looking for Fallopia Japonica which is the Japanese Knotweed. Hope we don't find it anywhere else.

I hope that we do not find this plant because it can be very bad for the environment .

We hope to not find this plant anywhere else.

this is my mission and i plan to complete it

I plan to complete my misson by not finding the "Fallopia japonica" or Japanese knotweed we will have more pictures and information to come!!

Good for you!

Awesome! I like your commitment! What species are you going to look for? Where will you look? This is one time that I hope you don't find what you're looking for! Happy investigating.