North Dakota hunters asked to be on alert after discovery of invasive weed

Palmer amaranth seedlings have egg-shaped leaves with a hair-like protusion at the leaf tip. (Photo by Christy Sprague, Michigan State University)

With pheasant season opening this weekend, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department is asking hunters be on the lookout for Palmer amaranth, an invasive weed that was recently identified in the state for the first time.

Palmer amaranth is native to the southwestern United States, but has been accidentally introduced to other areas and has devastated crops in the South and Midwest, according to a North Dakota Department of Agriculture news release following confirmed identification of the plant in McIntosh County in August. Since then, North Dakota State University weed specialists have had reports of additional suspect plants in several other counties in the eastern part of the state. Those plants have been sent to a lab for confirmation.

“Since thousands of pheasant hunters will be covering the countryside over the next few weeks, we want them to be aware that they could run into this plant, and ask them to report any suspected discoveries,” said Kevin Kading, Game and Fish Department private lands section supervisor.

Palmer amaranth can grow to 6 to 8 feet tall and the seed heads can grow to up to 2 feet long. Anyone who encounters a suspicious plant, Kading said, should take a photo of it, note the location, and contact the North Dakota Department of Agriculture at 701-328-2250 or North Dakota State University Extension at 701-231-8157 or 701-857-7677.

For more information and identifying photos, click here.

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