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What is a weed? Most simply stated, a weed is a plant out of place. It is the name that humans have placed on "undesirable" plants that interfere with our land management objectives. A plant may be a weed in one place but an acceptable plant in another (example: St. Johnswort & Purple Loosestrife). Noxious weeds are weeds that, by law, must be controlled. They are usually the most invasive and aggressive of the weeds. They usually spread easily, reproduce quickly and in large quantities, and reduce the populations of desirable plants. The federal and state Departments of Agriculture decide which plants to list as noxious.
Invasive weeds are a worldwide problem . The rise in world travel has only increased the risk for additional invasion. Of the 6,741 plant species that are recognized as weeds in the world, only 2,063 are currently present in the United States. That leaves 4,678 invasive plants that still may enter our country (FICMNEW 1998). Other countries face similar problems. The continued invasion of these weeds will only increase the risk of damage to our environment.