Sarah Coffey

About Sarah Coffey

Sarah Coffey is a Horticulture Research Intern at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. She is excited to learn hands-on horticulture and to share her project on invasive plant species with the community. Sarah studied environmental science at Stetson University and agroforestry at Virginia Tech and is grateful for the opportunity to begin her professional career at the Garden.

Apr 12th, 2021

Japanese Honeysuckle: A “Dirty Dozen” Plant

Our Dirty Dozen plant of the week is Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica). This ornamental vine is still widely available in the horticultural trade, even though it has invaded all of the eastern United States (as far west as Texas) and caused considerable damage to native ecosystems. Japanese Honeysuckle Lonicera japonica is a member of the honeysuckle […]

Read More
Apr 9th, 2021

Feed the Birds with Native Plants

Whether you enjoy bird watching or you like to feed the birds, native plants are a great way to attract them to your yard! Should We Use Bird Feeders? So you may be wondering, are bird feeders a good idea? Like many things in life, it depends on the circumstances. When we feed birds and […]

Read More
Apr 5th, 2021

Elaeagnus: A “Dirty Dozen” Plant

For this week’s Dirty Dozen plant, we have a triple threat: autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata), Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) and thorny olive (Elaeagnus pungens). All three Elaeagnus species are invasive, and E. umbellata and E. pungens are already widespread in Virginia (PDF). We invite you to join us in reducing their spread and ecological impact. […]

Read More
Mar 29th, 2021

Cogon Grass: A “Dirty Dozen” Plant

Cogon grass (Imperata cylindrica) is considered one of the top ten worst invasive plant species in the world. Even with its less-than-stellar reputation, it is a popular ornamental plant. Though not yet widespread in Virginia, we are struggling to control it here at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden (more on that in a minute), and it […]

Read More
Mar 26th, 2021

Italian Arum: A “Dirty Dozen” Plant

Our “Dirty Dozen” plant of the week is Italian arum (Arum italicum). Even though Washington is the only U.S. state to officially recognize arum as invasive, our horticulture staff have observed its invasive qualities in the Garden. You may not hear about arum from other invasive plant resources for Virginia, so we definitely think you […]

Read More
Mar 4th, 2021

Nandina: A “Dirty Dozen” Plant

This week, we are highlighting invasive Nandina domestica, commonly known as nandina, heavenly bamboo and sacred bamboo. Despite the name, this member of the Dirty Dozen is neither a true bamboo nor heavenly. Like mulberry weed, nandina has not yet been recognized on the Virginia Invasive Plant Species List, though it is a well-known invasive […]

Read More
Feb 13th, 2021

A Lesson Learned: The History of Horticulture & Invasive Plants

Invasive Plants: How did They Get Here? If you’ve been reading our “Dirty Dozen” blog series, you’ve probably noticed a recurring theme in several of the articles: many invasive plants were intentionally brought to the United States for ornamental purposes. Up until now, we have not featured Dirty Dozen plants that were deliberately planted at […]

Read More
Feb 6th, 2021

Tree-of-Heaven: A “Dirty Dozen” Plant

This week we are featuring tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) as our “Dirty Dozen” plant. While this tree may have been used in folk medicine or even as an insecticide, it is diabolical for our Virginia native ecosystems. Tree-of-Heaven Ailanthus altissima is a member of the quassia (Simaroubaceae) family (PDF). This small to medium-sized tree is dioecious, […]

Read More
Feb 1st, 2021

Oriental Bittersweet: A “Dirty Dozen” Plant

This week’s Dirty Dozen plant is oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus). Since it is still available in the horticultural trade, we hope that the following information will convince you not to buy this plant. Oriental Bittersweet Celastrus orbiculatus is a member of the bittersweet family (Celastraceae). This deciduous, perennial, woody vine can grow up to 60 […]

Read More
Jan 24th, 2021

Porcelain Berry: A “Dirty Dozen” Plant

This week’s featured member of the “Dirty Dozen” is Ampelopsis glandulosa var. brevipedunculata, commonly known as porcelain berry or amur peppervine. Most horticulture staff agree that this is the most pervasive of all invasive plants that we are currently battling at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Porcelain Berry Ampelopsis glandulosa var. brevipedunculata (syn. Ampelopsis brevipedunculata), is […]

Read More
Jan 15th, 2021

Chinese Privet: A “Dirty Dozen” Plant

This week’s featured member of the “Dirty Dozen” is Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense). Though several southern states, including Virginia, have recognized this plant in their invasive species lists or laws,  unfortunately, Chinese privet remains a commonly sold and planted ornamental shrub. Keep reading to find out why you should stop planting it and how to […]

Read More
Jan 12th, 2021

Mulberry Weed: A “Dirty Dozen” Plant

This week’s “Dirty Dozen” plant is mulberry weed (Fatoua villosa). In recent years, we have observed this plant creeping into our garden beds at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. So far, it has slid under the radar in Virginia, and only California, Alabama and Georgia include this plant in their invasive species lists or laws. We […]

Read More
Jan 4th, 2021

Japanese Stiltgrass: A “Dirty Dozen” Plant

Last week, we shared that we will be covering the top 12 worst invasive plant species that we encounter at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden — the “Dirty Dozen,”  This week, we are introducing the first species on our list: Japanese stiltgrass.  Please note that we have not ranked the Dirty Dozen in any way, as […]

Read More
Dec 22nd, 2020

Invasive Plants: The “Dirty Dozen”

Meet the Plants Over the next few weeks, we will be introducing 12 of the most problematic invasive plants that you’ll encounter in Central Virginia. Unfortunately, we also have to battle these even at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden! While our list is by no means comprehensive for Virginia, Richmond, or even our Garden, we have […]

Read More