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Palmer amaranth confirmed in two more Minnesota counties in 2019

This pigweed that originated in the southwestern United States can survive and thrive in northern climates.

Palmer amaranth continues its march northward. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) first listed this pugnacious pigweed on Minnesota’s Noxious Weed Prohibited Eradicate List in 2014. In 2019, MDA officials confirmed Palmer amaranth in the southwestern Minnesota county of Lincoln and the southeastern Minnesota county of Houston. 

Last year’s confirmations bring the number of Minnesota counties where Palmer amaranth has been confirmed to eight. Besides Lincoln and Houston counties, MDA officials have confirmed Palmer amaranth in the Minnesota counties of:

  • Douglas (west-central Minnesota)
  • Todd (central Minnesota)
  • Yellow Medicine (southwestern Minnesota)
  • Lyon (southwestern Minnesota)
  • Redwood (southwestern Minnesota)
  • Jackson (southwestern Minnesota)  

Weeds categorized as Prohibited Eradicate are the worst types of weeds, according to MDA officials. 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.

Palmer amaranth is a high-profile noxious weed of row crops and the MDA publishes media releases as soon as any information can be made public.

Other weeds and Minnesota locations included on the noxious weed list for 2019 are:
 

  • Black swallow-wort (Cyanchum louiseae) in the east-central county of Washington. Black swallow-wort is a viney milkweed that overtakes both sunny and shady habitats and is toxic to monarch butterflies.
  • Cutleaf teasel (Dipsacus laciniatus) in the south-central county of Blue Earth. Cutleaf teasel forms dense monocultures in sunny grasslands and on riverbanks.
  • Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) in the south-central county of Nicollet and southeastern county of Rice. Oriental bittersweet is a woody vine that overtakes forests.
  • Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) in the northwestern county of Clay, southwestern county of Nobles, and Rice County. Poison hemlock is a highly toxic plant that looks like wild carrot and grows in moist areas and along rights-of-way.

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. The MDA verifies the reports and, when possible, collects samples for the official University of Minnesota herbarium records.

As the regulatory agency for managing noxious weeds, the MDA also helps local governments with weed management and enforcement of the Minnesota Noxious Weed Law. The MDA provides training to the county agriculture inspectors (CAIs) while the CAIs enforce the Minnesota Noxious Weed Law.

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

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