May is Invasive Species Action Month in BC!

Learn about and take action on invasive species this month. Visit for virtual events, toolkits, webinars, and contests. For additional info on invasive species and how to control infestations, check out regional resources from the Invasive Species Council of B.C. and Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver. Be sure to also refer to our own Port Moody preferred plant list for recommendations of native plants that are adapted to our local climate, soils, predators, pollinators, and diseases. #BCinvasivesmonth

Invasive plants

Invasive plants are non-native species that grow quickly, reproduce rapidly, and often out-compete crops and native vegetation. They are a threat to the natural ecological process and can reduce shade and shelter, weaken soil and stability, alter wind and water flow, and in some cases can damage property and infrastructure. The City works to control invasive plants on public property.

If there are invasive plants on your private property, please help us by safely removing them.

Stop the spread

Help prevent the spread of invasive plants by following some key practices:

  • Plant native or non-invasive species. The Invasive Species Council of BC’s PlantWise program offers information on selecting the right plants to grow in your garden. 
  • Do not compost invasive plants in your home compost bin. Dispose of invasive plants in the City Green Bin organics waste. Remove and dispose of Knotweed and Giant Hogweed using special attention and care. 
  • Remove invasive plants on your property to prevent them from spreading
  • Never dump garden waste or hanging baskets into natural areas
  • Avoid moving soil from one place to another because this spreads seeds of invasive plants

Remove invasive plants

Under the B.C. Weed Control Act, you are required to manage and control certain invasive plants on your property. If you see invasive species in your lawn or garden, you should remove it as soon as possible, especially if it located adjacent to a greenway or natural area. Invasive plants should not be composted in home composters, and in some cases may require special disposal.

Giant Hogweed

Giant HogweedUnder the B.C. Weed Control Act, you are required to manage and control Giant Hogweed on your property. If you find a Giant Hogweed on your property, we recommend that you contact the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver to help you find a professional to remove the plant. Anyone who has direct contact with this plant should:

  • wash the area immediately with mild soap and water
  • stay out of direct sunlight
  • seek medical help if blisters occur


Japanese knotweedUnder the B.C. Weed Control Act, you are required to manage and control Knotweed species on your property. If you find Knotweed on your property, we recommend that you hire a professional pesticide applicator to remove the plant using recommended approaches. Treatment is often required for multiple years. The City's Pesticide Use Control Bylaw allows the use of pesticides to treat Knotweed species.

Do not attempt to remove or compost Knotweed in your backyard. Digging, pulling or cutting the plant can lead to increased growth.

Identify invasive plants

Check out Invasive Species Council of B.C. and the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver for a full list of invasive plants. They provide images of each plant and information on plant identification. Some of the most common invasive species in Port Moody include:

Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense)

Canadian ThistleCanada Thistle has small purple or white flowers that grow in clusters of one to five at the top of the plant. The leavers are long, narrow, and alternate on the stem with crinkled deep loped, and spiny edits.

At maturity, this plant grows to 0.3 to 2 m tall. It reproduces by seed, but also spreads through creeping, horizontal roots. Canada Thistle is differentiated from all similar species by the lack of spines on the main stem, small flowers, and height (less than 2 m tall)

English Holly (Ilex auifolium)

English HollyEnglish Holly is an evergreen tree with spiny dark green leaves and bright red berries. Flowers are whitish and have a sweet scent. English Holly grows rapidly up to 7 to 1o m in height, and adapts to shady and sunny conditions.

It often shades native plants depriving them of light. It consumes lots of water and its roots can out-compete forest species for nutrients and water. Seedlings are commonly found in mixed deciduous and coniferous forests around the south coast, along the edges of wetlands and especially near residential areas.

For more information on prevention and control, see this Fact Sheet on English Holly

English Ivy (Hedera helix)

english ivyEnglish Ivy, was introduced from Europe and Asia and is an evergreen vine with waxy leaves about 5 to 10 cm long. The plant can grow up to 20 to 30 m high and is usually found growing up tree trunks and covering the forest floor.

Ornamental plantings are the key cause for widespread introduction of English Ivy into forests and other natural areas. English Ivy grows all year and because it is well-adapted to the Pacific Northwest climate, it out-completed many other plant species. When it grows up a tree, English Ivy can significantly degrade tree health and increase the risk of a treeing being blown over. It can also cause aesthetic and structural damage to walls, fences and other infrastructure.

For more information on prevention and control, see this Fact Sheet on English and Irish Ivies

Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)

Giant HogweedGiant Hogweed (also known as Giant Cow Parsnip) has large umbrella-shaped white flowers and can grow up to 5 m in height at maturity. This plant has dark green leaves that are coarsely toothed in three large segments with stiff underside hairs, and lower leaves can exceed 2.5 m in length.

With prolific seed capacity, producing up to 100,000 seeds per plant, Giant Hogweed can spread quickly, dominating native vegetation. If you find Giant Hogweed on your property, take special care during removal.

For more information on prevention and control, see this Fact Sheet on Giant Hogweed

Himalayan Blackberry (Rubus discolor)

himalayan blackberryHimalayan Blackberry is a European species of blackberry that was originally introduced for its fruit. This plant has small, white or faint pink flowers with 5 petals, arranged in clusters of 5 to 20. Canes grow up to 3 m in height and 12 m in length at maturity. The leaves are large, rounded or oblong.

Himalayan Blackberry out-competes low growing native vegetation and prevents the establishment of shade-intolerant trees. This plant often takes over stream channels and stream banks through shading and build-up of leaf litter and dead stems.

For more information on prevention and control, see this Fact Sheet on Himalayan Blackberry

Knotweed Species

Japanese knotweedJapanese Knotweed has small green-white flowers that grow in plumes off stem and lead joints. The stems are hollow and bamboo-like. They grow rapidly (up to 3 m per year) and spread quickly.

This plant take persistence and diligence to control. It spreads through root and stem fragmentation. Fragments as small as half an inch can form new plants. If you find Japanese Knotweed on your property, take special care to remove it.

For more information on prevention and control, see this Fact Sheet on Knotweeds

Orange Hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum)

Orange HawkweedOrange Hawkweed has bright orange flowers on a single, leafless stem that is covered in black hairs. The plant grows to approximately 0.3 m in height. This plant forms a dense ground cover, out-competes native plants, and provides no food or value to local wildlife.

Orange Hawkweed is a relatively new invader to the Metro Vancouver region. It has not been found in many places in Port Moody, but should be treated as quickly as possible so it is eradicated.

Policeman's Helmet (Impatiens glandulifera)

policemans helmetPoliceman's Helmet, also known as Himalayan Balsam, is a tall plant with pink, white, and purple flowers. It can grow up to 2 m in height and has hollow stems with long, slender leaves and flowers shaped like and English policeman's helmet.

Policeman's Helmet will grow tall and dense, displacing other plants and leave bare soil prone to erosion with it dies back each fall. This is especially problematic in and around stream banks. Seeds are produced in tubular pods, which when mature, explode and can launch seeds up to 5 m away. Seedpods can split with little disturbance so significant care needs to be taken to remove the plant after it flowers. When the plant grows along watercourses, seeds can be propelled into the water and transported great distances.

For more information on prevention and control, see this Fact Sheet on Policeman’s Helmet

Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

Purple loosetrifePurple Loosestrife is a woody half-shrub, semi-aquatic perennial with a stiff four-sided set minding in dense purple flowers. It invades water areas at low-to-mid elevations, growing in ditches, irrigation canals, stream banks, lake and river shores, and tidal flats.

Purple Loosestrife can out-compete most native species, yet provides little local food value, cover or nesting material. Seeds remain dormant over winder and germinate the following spring or early summer or they can remain dormant for many years before sprouting.

For more information on prevention and control, see this Fact Sheet on Purple Loosestrife

Reed Canary Grass (phalaris arundinacea)

Reed Canary GrassReed Canary Grass is a cool season perennial grass with noticeable creeping rhizomes. It favours wet, poorly drained sites and may be found in ditches, along the edges of ponds and lakes, in marshlands, and in wet meadows.

This plant was introduced from Europe and Asia for ornamental use and mixed with native grass species. The result, is an aggressive offspring that has spread throughout the central and western region of North America. This mixture of native and invasive species has resulted in debate about the invasiveness and origins of the species in some regions.

For more information on prevention and control, see this Fact Sheet on Reed Canarygrass

Saltmeadow Cordgrass (Spartina patens)

SpartinaSaltmeadow Cordgrass is an invasive foreshore grass that is spreading the Burrard Inlet and the Port Moody arm. Left uncontrolled, it can convert mudflats into monoculture grass stands, resulting in the loss of habitat for many species including migratory birds, shellfish, salmon, and other fish populations.

Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius)

Scotch broomScotch Broom is an evergreen shrub with bright yellow, pea-like flowers that may have red markings in the middle. It grows from 1 to 3 m tall at maturity.

It invades rangelands, replacing forage plants, and is a serious competitor to conifer seedlings. High density infestations of Scotch Broom can reduce wildlife habitat, hinder vegetation of wetlands and upland sites, and increase wildfire fuel loads.

For more information on prevention and control, see this Fact Sheet on Scotch Broom

Yellow Flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus)

Yellow Flag IrisYellow Flag Iris is a clumping perennial herb that grows 40 cm to 1.5 m tall, and is the only totally yellow-flowered iris in BC. This plant is often found in fertile, low-lying wetland habitats (riverbanks, ponds, lakes, marshes), and can grow in both salt water and fresh water.

Yellow Flag Iris is particularly bad for cattails, sedges, and rushes that are used by many birds for nesting. Plants need to be pulled or cut every year for several years to weaken and eventually kill the plant. Skin can be irritated by this plant, and gloves and appropriate clothing should be word during disposal.

Yellow Lamium (Lamium galeobdolon)

Yellow laminiumLamium is a trailing, evergreen perennial groundcover with square stems and heart-shaped leaves. The Leaves are typically variated and slightly hairy. This plant has small, light-yellow flowers that bloom in mid-spring.

Lamium is a popular ornamental plant that is very aggressive and well adapted to growing in shaded and open areas. Seeds can be transported up to 70 m away from the parent plant. The plant also spreads with roots that smother native plants.

Report invasive plants on public property

If you see an invasive plant on City property, please contact us by email at or call 604-469-4574. You will need to provide the following information:

  • specific location of the sighting
  • date of the sighting
  • identification of the plant and a picture, if possible
  • your contact information, in case the City needs any more details

You can also report directly using the “Report Invasives BC” or “Report a Weed” apps and report directly to relevant organizations

Invasive plant support

For more information on other invasive plants, how to control infestations, and non-invasive gardening options please visit: