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Black Swallow-Wort Initiative 2023

Promoting healthy, biodiverse habitats in Northern Michigan

CAKE CISMA's long-running black swallow-wort initiative seeks to contain and when possible, eradicate, infestations of the invasive plant black swallow-wort in Northern Michigan. Black swallow-wort is still relatively uncommon throughout Northern Michigan and we have the opportunity to act now and mitigate the negative impacts of this invasive species before it becomes permanently established in our area. 

What is Black Swallow-wort?

Black swallow-wort is an invasive, herbaceous, perennial vine in the milkweed family that is native to Europe.  This species is of special concern to us here in Northern Michigan because of its negative ecological impacts and still limited distribution. 

Ecological Impacts

  • Black swallow-wort overtakes and suppresses other vegetation, reducing species diversity, wildlife habitat, and native plant populations. 

  • Black swallow-wort is toxic to many insects including monarch caterpillars. It can be a population sink for Monarch butterflies and may outcompete the Monarch’s preferred host, common milkweed.

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Black Swallow-wort Initiative Goals

We need your help - get involved! 

Report potential infestations

Public reports help us find undocumented infestations so we can manage them sooner. If you see swallow-wort please let us know. 

Manage swallow-wort on your land

Check out our management recommendations. 


Pull the pods: pull and dispose of swallow-wort seeds in the garbage when they form in late July. The seeds are dispersed by the wind, so you'll be preventing new infestations.

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