Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Roadside Vegetation Management

people planting a tree

Native and invasive roadside vegetation

View or print full list of Minnesota's noxious weeds (PDF 6.5 MB)

Common roadside plants



amur maple
Amur Maple

Plants that cause dermatitis

Poison Ivy - primary noxious weed

Primary noxious weeds are required to be controlled by State Law.

Leaves: 3 dull or shiny leaflets, 2-4" long, can be smooth-margined, lobed or irregular toothed, leaves may vary on same plant, bright green, turning orange or red in fall.
Flowers: Not easily seen, found in leaf axils.
Range: Native to MN found statewide.
Comments: DO NOT TOUCH! May cause severe rash in susceptible people. Plant oils can get onto clothing or footwear and cause rash at later date.

poison ivy - summer

Poison ivy -

poison ivy - fall
Poison ivy - fall
poison ivy - winter/spring
Poison ivy -

Grecian Foxglove - secondary noxious weed

Secondary noxious weeds are required to be controlled in counties which lists Grecian Foxglove on county lists.

Leaves: First year basal rosette. Lance-shaped, smooth or slightly hairy. Stem leaves are alternate, narrow, oblong, sessile.
Flowers: Flowers develop 2nd year. In raceme at top of stalk. Individual flowers are snap-dragon shaped. Creamy white lip with purple or brown veined hood. Flowering plant can reach 5-6 feet in height.
Range: Pockets along Eastern border from Stillwater to Afton.
Comments: Produces digoxin that can be absorbed through the skin. Digoxin may cause potentially fatal heart problems. Ingestion can be fatal to cattle or horses.

grecian foxglove - rosette
Grecian foxglove - rosette
grecian foxglove - flowering
foxglove -

Wild parsnip

Not currently listed for control requirements.

Leaves: Pinnately compound, variously toothed.
Flowers: 2-6" flat topped clusters, flowers from June- September, plant turns brown when finished flowering.
Range: Very common in SE MN and spreading throughout the state.
Comments: Avoid this plant. Plant contains "sap" that reacts with ultraviolet rays and causes severe blistering of the skin (photodermatitis).

Wild parsnip fact sheet - controlling wild parsnip on state highways (PDF)

wild parsnip - rosette
Wild parsnip -

wild parsnip - flowering
Wild parsnip -

Commonly mistaken plants

Many native plants are commonly mistaken for thistle, purple loosestrife, and leafy spurge along MnDOT right-of-way. Don't spray purple - know what you are controlling.

Noxious weeds - required to be controlled by state law

canada thistle - state listed noxious weed
Canada Thistle -
State Listed
Noxious Weed

purple loosestrife - state listed noxious weed
Loosestrife -
State Listed
Noxious Weed

leafy spurge - state listed noxious weed
Leafy Spurge -
State Listed
Noxious Weed

spotted knapweed
Knapweed -
Not a State
Listed Noxious
Weed, but a
very invasive
plant that
should be

Commonly mistaken plants - not required to be controlled by state law

Monarda (native)
blazing star
Blazing Star
blue vervain
Blue Vervain
yellow rocket
Yellow Rocket
golden alexander