CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) will be holding a public hearing about restricting two types of plants from being sold in the state.

MDAR will hold a public hearing through Zoom on Tuesday, August 22 at 10:00 a.m. to discuss the proposed ban on Callery Pear/Bradford Pear and Wall Lettuce. The public is encouraged to provide feedback on the Zoom call or by mailing a letter to MDAR.

  • Use this link to join the Zoom call on Tuesday – Passcode: 097601
  • Dial by your location – (646) 931-3860, (646) 558-8656, (312) 626-6799 
  • Webinar ID: 833 7571 4621 – Passcode: 097601
  • Written testimony can be emailed to
    • Testimony can also be mailed to: Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, 225 Turnpike Road, Southborough MA 01772 Attn: Taryn LaScola.  

Callery Pear/Bradford Pear

Callery Pear is a small tree that is native to eastern Asia. It was brought to the United States in the early 1900s as a way to fight the blight of pear trees in the country. The tree blooms in the spring, displaying white blossoms before the leaves emerge.

The tree can not self-pollinate but if more than one is planted in an area it can produce small, hard, green fruit. It is known for having smelly flowers, often described as rotting fish or dirty baby diapers.

The tree can grow in several different habitat conditions. The plant can completely shade an area, preventing the growth of smaller shrubs and plants.

“It’s just a much better, healthier ecosystem without those Bradford pears in there. Everywhere
you’ve got a Bradford pear, it’s like a food desert to a bird,” said David Coyle, PhD., Assistant Professor at Clemson University.

Callery Pear is listed on five other state’s Prohibited Plant lists: Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Maine and Delaware. The tree has been observed mostly in eastern Massachusetts but also in the greater Springfield area, Northampton, and Amherst.

Wall Lettuce

Wall lettuce is an annual or biennial plant that has purple-tinged branches and stems, which can stand two to three feet tall. When the stem is broken, milky juice is released. Leaves on the plant are mid-green and turn yellow in the fall. Little flowers that appear on the plant are yellow with a loose stalk.

The species is native to Europe and is present in Norway, Russia, Turkey, North Africa and other countries. It was first discovered in Lincoln, Massachusetts in 1984.

The plant has been listed on invasive watch lists in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Alaska. Today, the plant has been observed mostly in Berkshire County and Middlesex County.

State’s Prohibited Plant List

Currently, there are more than 140 plants on the Massachusetts Prohibited Plant List. The list was created in 2005 to designate certain plants as invasive in the Commonwealth. Each year, new species are added to the list in hopes to prevent residents from spreading these invasive plants into their communities.

Species on the prohibited list can not be imported, sold, traded, or distributed in Massachusetts. If you have a plant on the prohibited list already in your yard, you do not need to remove it. If you have an invasive plant in your yard you’d like to get removed, it is recommended to contact a landscaper or arborist.

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