Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Science and Mathematics



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Paul Bologna

Committee Member

Dirk Vanderklein

Committee Member

Danlin Yu


The distribution of invasive plants was determined along the floodplain of the Passaic River in three protected park regions. Specifically, Lord Stirling Park, Hatfield Swamp, and Great Piece Meadows were assessed to determine whether or not the top 29 invasive plants as identified by Snyder and Kaufman (2004) were present. Two of the three areas are strongly affected by urbanization which may be a contributing factor to the increase of invasive plants within them. Eleven out of the top twenty nine invasive plants in New Jersey were recorded: Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora), Lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria), Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum), Japanese barberry {Berberís thunbergii), Garlic mustard {Alliaria petiolata), Wineberry {Rubus phoenicolasius), Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japónica), Yellow sweetclover {Melilotus officinalis), Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), Black locust {Robinia pseudoacacia), and Porcelain berry {Ampelopsis brevipedunculata).

Using the Alien Plants Ranking System illustrated that all sites maintained invasive species which pose a serious threat to these parks. The two most urbanized sites each had three invasive species which pose a serious threat. Hatfield Swamp was dominated by purple loosestrife, Japanese stilt grass, and Japanese knotweed and Great Piece Meadows showed dominance by Japanese stilt grass, Porcelain berry, and Japanese knotweed. Lord Stirling Park, the least urbanized, showed only one species of serious threat at this time: Japanese stilt grass. Regardless, all of the identified invasive species present in this study have the potential to become a serious threat if control measures are not enacted.

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