Black Swallow-Wort Control
For no-cost survey and treatment of black-swallow wort on your property, please fill out the consent form at the bottom of this page or complete the physical form to return via email or post service (click on the file icon to open) by May 10th, 2021.
Digital form can also be accessed at
A Toxic Invader
A species of concern that threatens Northern Michigan's environmental quality is black swallow-wort (Cynanchum louiseae). This species is an invasive noxious vine, identifiable by its opposite, glossy leaves and five pointed, star shaped flowers. It is a cause for concern for several reasons. Firstly, its roots are toxic to people and mammals if ingested. Secondly, it is allelopathic; it emits chemicals into the soil that inhibits the growth of native plant species. Thirdly, it is toxic to pollinators such as Monarch butterflies, which mistake the plant for milkweed and unwittingly lay their eggs on the deadly plant. After the caterpillars hatch, the ingestion of this plant kills them. Finally, it forms dense infestations, which outcompetes and smothers native plants. These infestations become extremely costly to remove if left alone. Despite a limited distribution in Northern Michigan, it has established itself in the City of Petoskey, and has the capability of spreading beyond the city if left unchecked. The CAKE CISMA has worked for several years with limited funding to attempt to treat this species and curb its spread.
No-Cost Control for Private Landowners
Through a grant project funded by the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program and the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, CAKE CISMA is able to provide survey and treatment completely free to individuals. Local partners, businesses, and homeowner associations are encouraged to reach out to discuss treatment options with cost-share.
Partnering with Petoskey City Parks
To protect the environmental quality of Petoskey's public lands, the CAKE CISMA is partnering with the Petoskey Parks and Recreation department to fund the treatment of black swallow-wort in three city parks in the summer of 2021. The parks include Bayfront Park, Winter Sports Park, and the Bear River Valley Recreation Area. This project will help to improve the native biodiversity and wildlife habitat in these public spaces.