Invasive Plants

Balance in the desert ecosystem is threatened by many invasive plants. Sahara Mustard is perhaps best known, but there are many others that are equally problematic.


Sahara mustard is an invasive non-native weed that is a significant threat to our desert plants and wildflowers. It is also a fire hazard. Use these resources to identify the plant to stop its spread.

In 2019 MBCA was part of an effort to get Saharan mustard designated as a top priority Target Weed for the Biologic Control Program of USDA-ARS in their 2020-2025 Project Plan. The effort was effective - the details are in this News Update.

Here is MBCA's guide to other common desert invasive plants and a comprehensive Mojave Desert Invasive Plant Guide from the National Park Service. 

A new invasive threat has appeared in the lower desert, in the Anza Borrego area. While it's apparently not yet found in the Morongo Basin, keep a lookout for Volutaria - "A new and noxious plant (that) threatens Southern California."  Learn more from the Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center

In September 2019 the Desert Sun reported the spread of a new hybrid tumbleweed that can grow to six feet tall and weigh 13 pounds, creating a new driving hazard.

stinknet, an invasive plantIn Fall 2020 we've learned that an invasive called Stinknet is beginning to spread in our area. This non-native member of the sunflower family, originally from South Africa, has been seen in Morongo Valley and at the west end of Yucca Valley. It is now in at least eight counties. It is highly invasive here and can even displace Brome grass! Here is a one-page summary about Stinknet provided by Board member Arch McCulloch.

  • Featured post

    Eblast March 1, 2022

    Posted by · March 01, 2023 2:47 PM
    • Flamingo 640 Glamping Project going before Planning Commission
    • Wonder Inn Project update
    • Spring is here and so are Invasive Plants!
    • Rooftop Solar Update
    • 2023 Desert Wise Living Landscape Tour
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    It's Time to Fight Invasive Plants

    Posted by · February 22, 2023 11:22 AM · 2 reactions
    Mustard_Pull_with_JTNP_2012.jpgLocal winter rains provide hope for some good wildflower viewing in the coming months, but also have fed the growth of some of the Basin's worst invasive weeds that can reduce wildflower displays. Check out this news report on invasive plants by local radio station KCDZ and also MBCA's Invasive Plants page, to learn how to recognize and deal with these environmental threats.
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    EBlast December 1, 2020

    Posted by · December 01, 2020 10:36 AM
    • Joshua Tree Candidacy for Threatened Status
    • Desert Tortoise Candidacy for Endangered Status
    • Countywide Plan / Repeal of Community Plans
    • Stagecoach Solar
    • XPressWest Wildlife Crossings
    • Stinknet Invasive Plant!
    • Virtually Attend MBCA Board Meetings
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    • Support MBCA through Amazon Smile
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    EBlast June 8, 2020

    Posted by · June 08, 2020 5:23 PM
    • Desert Wise Living Landscape Tour 2020 goes virtual !
    • Petition to list Yucca brevifolia as a threatened species.
    • A week of Invasive Species Lunchtime Webinars.
    • Opposition to Yellow Pine Solar Project
    • Action on Eagle Crest Pumping Opposition.
    • Funding Mojave Trails Acquisition
    • Environmental Justice in Lucerne Valley.
    • Opposition to Habitat Conservation Fund Budget Trailer Bill.
    • Support for AB3030 For Land and Water Conservation.
    • Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease found in the Morongo Basin.
    • Ruth Denison 2020 Environmental scholarship recipient.
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    USDA Will Research Sahara Mustard Biocontrol

    Posted by · September 06, 2019 1:36 PM
    In April, MBCA submitted a letter in support of the Tubbs Canyon Desert Conservancy in their effort to convince the US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) to seek new ways of controlling Saharan mustard. The Conservancy has alerted us of a positive response from the USDA, stating that their upcoming 5-year plan for 2020-2025 will [emphasis added] include studies on identifying and assessing potential biocontrol agents that can be used for Sahara mustard mitigation and eradication." Here is the USDA-ARS letter for full details. (See MBCA's Invasive Plants page for more on Sahara mustard.) 
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    Another Step in Fighting Sahara Mustard

    Posted by · July 27, 2019 9:59 PM
    As noted in our July 22 EBlast, MBCA signed on to support an effort by the Tubbs Canyon Conservancy to urge the USDA Agricultural Research Service to develop a biologic control agent for the incredibly invasive Sahara Mustard that plagues the southwest United States. On July 26 an official request to designate Sahara mustard as a top priority target weed for developing biologic control was sent to the USDA/ARS with the support of 10 U.S. Representatives including our Congressman Paul Cook. 
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    EBlast July 22, 2019

    Posted by · July 22, 2019 7:07 PM
    • Control the spread of Sahara Mustard
    • Paradise Valley Development Threatens Joshua Tree National Park
    • Stop Eagle Crest Energy
    • Stop Cadiz! SB-307 on Governors desk
    • Countywide Plan comments due August 15
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    MBCA Supports the Fight Against Sahara Mustard

    Posted by · April 23, 2019 8:58 AM
    MBCA joined Tubb Canyon Desert Conservancy and other groups in urging the United States Department of Agriculture to consider Sahara mustard as a new "weed of interest" in its next five-year plan. The Tubb Canyon group has been involved in a scientific search for a biocontrol agent for Sahara Mustard which drew some USDA interest. MBCA's letter notes the ongoing damage to our "diverse and vital desert ecosystem" due to the proliferation of Sahara mustard. 
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