Virginia Invasive Mapping Initiative

Documenting Escaped Non-native Plants with EDDMapS

Blue Ridge PRISM and our partners, Virginia Master Naturalists, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation – Natural Heritage, and EDDMapS are launching the Virginia Invasive Mapping Initiative to collect data on the type, distribution and spread of potentially invasive plants in Virginia. While we see many invasive plant species spreading in our parks and other public spaces, documentation of that spread is essential for informing public policy, determining whether an escaped plant is becoming environmentally harmful, public education, and decisions on management and control of invasive plants. Data is sorely lacking. Citizen scientists like you can report invasive plants using EDDMapS to ensure that invasive plants are better documented in each Virginia county.

Photo:, University of Georgia – Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health

What is EDDMapS?

EDDMapS is a suite of applications and programs for reporting, mapping and managing data on invasive species. It is heavily used across the country by conservation organizations and natural lands managers for determining where to direct resources for the control of plants that threaten the health of our ecosystems. Reports are verified by knowledgeable conservation professionals and scientists to ensure the accuracy and the validity of the data collected.  

How do I get started?

Using your smartphone or tablet download EDDMapS from your app store. Look for EDDMapS. Note: there is an EddMapS Pro app, so make sure you have EDDMapS.

Once you have downloaded the app, select your state (Virginia) and set up an account if you do not have one. Start reporting! Check out ‘How to use the EDDMapS App’ to walk through setting up the app and making a report.

But I am not terribly tech savvy…can I make reports using my desktop computer?

Absolutely! Go to EDDMapS website and set up an account. Then look for the ‘Report Sightings’ tab and select ‘Plants’. You will need to upload your photos. Start reporting!

What plants are considered invasive in Virginia?

The Department of Conservation and Recreation – Natural Heritage has identified 90 plants that are invasive to Virginia’s forests, native grasslands, wetlands, or waterways. They are listed on the Virginia Invasive Plant Species List.

Are there specific plants I should be looking out for in Virginia?

Yes, representatives from Blue Ridge PRISM, Department of Conservation and Recreation – Natural Heritage, and Virginia Master Naturalists have identified 20 plants of interest in Virginia. However, make a report for any invasive plant! We want to know about it!

Akebia quinataFive-leaf akebia, Chocolate vine
Arum italicumItalian arum
Berberis bealei (Mahonia bealei)Leatherleaf mahonia
Berberis julianaeWintergreen barberry
Berberis thunbergiiJapanese barberry
Buddleja davidiiButterfly bush
Clematis ternifloraSweet autumn virgin’s bower
Euonymus alatusWinged euonymus, Burning bush
Euonymus fortuneiWinter Creeper
Hedera helixEnglish ivy
Hemerocallis fulvaOrange daylily
Hibiscus syriacusRose-of-Sharon
Miscanthus sinensisChinese silvergrass
Nandina domesticaNandina, Heavenly Bamboo
Perilla frutescensBeefsteak plant, Perilla mint
Pyrus calleryanaCallery pear, Bradford Pear
Quercus acutissimaSawtooth oak
Rhodotypos scandensJetbead
Ulmus parvifoliaChinese elm, Lacebark elm
Vinca minorPeriwinkle
20 Plants of Interest in Virginia

How do I make a great EDDMapS report? Any tips for reporters?

Making a Great EDDMapS Report

Good photos are key to expediting the verification process. Some species of invasive plants have unique characteristics that make them easy to identify from a good photo (mahonia or Japanese stiltgrass for example). Many species have native look a-likes (think tree-of-heaven vs. natives like sumac or black walnut) or may have multiple species in the same genus (Japanese wisteria and Chinese wisteria). Including several clear photos for each record is most helpful to verifiers. EDDMapS accepts up to five images per report along with captions for each image.

Learn More: Making a Great EDDMapS Report

Thank you to our project partners!