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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Skunk cabbage: Chemical control using herbicides Control of Freshwater Invasive Species

Key messages

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  • A study in the UK found that two herbicides, glyphosate and 2, 4-D Amine, both killed all skunk cabbage plants in test areas. However, another study in the UK found that although using 2,4-D amine at 9 litres/ha, successfully eradicated skunk cabbage, using glyphosate was unsuccessful at eradicating skunk cabbage, with only limited reduction in growth of the plants.

Supporting evidence from individual studies


A study in 2010, at Lymington Reedbeds, England, UK (Chatters 2010) found that herbicide sprays, glyphosate and 2, 4-D Amine, each killed skunk cabbage Lysichiton americanus.   Two months following treatment, most plants sprayed with glyphosate appeared to have been killed, whereas most of those sprayed with 2,4-D amine were found to have new shoots.  However, six months following the treatments, a limited survey did not find any skunk cabbage plants, suggesting that both herbicide applications may have been successful.  The site was divided into two sections. A larger downstream section was treated with glyphosate (Roundup Pro Biactive) at a rate of 6 litres/ha. A smaller, upstream section was treated with 2, 4-D Amine in an unspecified amount. Herbicide was applied by two people over a three day time period.  Surveys were conducted for seven to eight weeks, then six months, after application.


A study in the UK (European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation 2009) found that use of 2,4-D amine at a concentration of 9 litres/ha eradicated skunk cabbage Lysichiton americanus, whereas glyphosate did not eradicate skunk cabbage and caused only limited reduction of growth of the plants.  The 2,4-D amine was applied in the month of May at a private garden in Sussex, and at Sheffield Park Garden National Trust property.  Glyphosate was applied at a site in Scotland. No further information was available.


Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Aldridge, D., Ockendon, N., Rocha, R., Smith, R.K. & Sutherland, W.J. (2019) Some aspects of control of freshwater invasive species. Pages 569-602 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.