W&M > VIMS > CCRM > Living Shorelines

Living Shorelines: Invasive Plant Species Commonly Found Along Tidal Shorelines

Most of these invasive plants will rapidly spread into disturbed areas along tidal shorelines. They may crowd out desirable native plants that are introduced as part of a living shorelines project. Learn how to recognize these plants and avoid using them for landscaping. Some are easy to remove and control, others are more challenging, particularly if they are well established in the vicinity.

Upland Trees and Shrubs

Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense)
Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
Silk tree, (Mimosa Albizia julibrissin)
Princess tree (Paulownia tomentosa)

Upland Vines

Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
English Ivy (Hedera helix)
Periwinkle (Vinca minor)

Tidal Wetlands

Common Reed (Phragmites australis)

Sand Dunes

Beach Vitex (Vitex rotundifolia)



Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas, National Park Service & U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Invasive alien Plant Species of Virginia, Department of Conservation and Recreation

ivy invasion ivy on trees

English ivy (Hedera helix) is commonly observed along tidal shorelines invading tidal marshes and disturbed riparian buffers. Photos by K. Duhring

phragmites phragmites field

Common reed (Phragmites australis) now dominates these tidal marshes after the shorelines were cleared. Photo by K. Duhring