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Invasive plants in belgium


Three lists for invasive plants (Update April 2016)

Plant species banned from trade and possession can be found on the LIST OF INVASIVE ALIEN SPECIES OF UNION CONCERN (European Commission, since 01/01/2015).

In addition, two other lists were developed during the AlterIAS project in collaboration with the green sector (ornamental sector). 

The CONSENSUS LIST includes species withdrawn from sales and/or plantations (as unanimously approved by representatives of main horticultural federations and associations). CAUTION! Anno 2016, this list includes six species from the List of invasive alien species of union concern:


  • Eastern baccharis (Baccharis halimifolia)
  • Water pennywort (Hydrocotyle ranunculoides)
  • Curly waterweed (Lagarosiphon major)
  • Water primrose (Ludwigia grandiflora)
  • Water primrose (Lidwigia peploides)
  • Parrotfeather (Myriophyllum aquaticum)


These six species are anyway banned from trade and possession.

The COMMUNICATION LIST includes species that can still be used if recommendations are taken into account to limit their spread in natural habitats. It is important to avoid planting those species near habitats where they could become invasive. CAUTION! Anno 2016, this list includes one species from the List of invasive alien species of union concern:


  • American skunk-cabbage (Lysichiton americanus)


This species is anyway banned from trade and possession.

Different species, different impacts...

All invasive plants do not have the same impact on environment. Some of them are known as highly detrimental on biodiversity. They are widespread or invasive in specific natural habitats of high conservation value only. Some others are presently less problematic in Belgium compared to other European countries. Their impact on biodiversity is limited or less known. They need to be “watched”.

In Belgium invasive plants are included in an information system called Harmonia. This database is managed by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform which is responsible of the species assessment and classification. At present, there are around 60 invasive plants assessed.  The assessment and classification are performed by different scientists through a standardized protocol : the ISEIA protocol [Invasive Species Environmental Impact Assessment protocol].


For more information about the Harmonia system and the ISEIA protocol, click here 


The Code of conduct on invasive plants

On the basis of this list, a Code of conduct has been developed in collaboration with the green sector (ornamental sector). In this Code, species were grouped in a consensus list (annex I) and a communication list (annex II).

The consensus list includes species which the withdrawing from sales and/or plantations was unanimously approved by representatives of main horticultural federations and associations. Most of them are widespread species with a highly detrimental impact on biodiversity (for example the Japanese knotweed, the giant hogweed, the black cherry, the water pennywort, etc.). This list includes 28 species (with all cultivars and varieties directly derived from those species) which represents around 45% of the total number of invasive plants.

The remaining plants were included in a communication list (annex II) which gathers species (of which cultivars, varities or hybrids) having a limited impact in Belgium OR species (of which cultivars, varieties or hybrids) which may become invasive in very specific natural habitats. Those plants can still be used if recommendations are taken into account to limit their spread in natural habitats. It is important to avoid planting those species near habitats where they could become invasive. For example the rugose rose is highly invasive in coastal dunes. It is therefore recommended not to plant this species along the Belgian coast. Alternative plants can also be proposed instead of these plants.

For more information about the Code, click here

The list of plants considered to be invasive or potentially invasive in Belgium

Here below, the list of invasive or potentially invasive plants in Belgium, with detailed descriptive factsheetsand a database for searching plants (see "plant database" on the left menu). The plants included in the consensus list (annex I) or in the communication list (annex II) of the Code of conduct are mentionned with the following symbols:

consensuslijst Consensus list (Annex I)
picto_invasive_2 copie Communication list (Annex II)

Attention! Species that are on the ‘List of invasive alien species of Union concern’ are omitted from the plant database. These species are banned anyway from trade and possession. 

Common nameCode of conduct 
Australian swamp stonecrop (Crassula helmsii)
Beggarticks (Bidens frondosa)
Billardii meadowsweet (Spiraea x billardii)
Black cherry (Prunus serotina)
Black locust, False acacia (Robinia pseudoacacia)
Bohemian knotweed (Fallopia x bohemica)
Boxelder (Acer negundo)
Brazilian waterweed (Egeria densa)
Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii)
Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)
Common nameCode of conduct 
Canadian waterweed (Elodea canadensis)
Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)
Common Michaelmas-daisy (Aster x salignus)
Cutleaf coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata)
False Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus inserta)
Garden lupin (Lupinus polyphyllus)
Giant goldenrod (Solidago gigantea)
Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)
Giant knotweed (Fallopia sachalinensis)
Green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)
Common nameCode of conduct 
Hardhack steeplebush (Spiraea douglasii)
Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera)
Himalayan knotweed (Persicaria polystachya)
Indian strawberry (Duchesnea indica)
Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica)
Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus)
Michaelmas daisy (Aster novi-belgii)
Minute duckweed (Lemna minuta)
Monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus)
Nuttall's waterweed (Elodea nuttallii)
Common nameCode of conduct 
Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium)
Pale galingale (Cyperus eragrostis)
Panicled Aster (Aster lanceolatus)
Red oak (Quercus rubra)
Red veined maple (Acer rufinerve)
Red-osier dogwood (Cornus sericea)
Rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum)
Rockspray (Cotoneaster horizontalis)
Rugosa rose (Rosa rugosa)
Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)
Common nameCode of conduct 
Small balsam (Impatiens parviflora)
Snowy mespilus (Amelanchier lamarckii)
South african ragwort (Senecio inaequidens)
Spanish bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica)
Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina)
Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
Variable watermilfoil (Myriophyllum heterophyllum)
Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
Water fern (Azolla filiculoides)
White meadowsweet (Spiraea alba)