Trade body course offers unique insight into invasive weed identification

Specialists with an interest in protecting the UK’s environment can broaden their knowledge on the identification of invasive, non-native weeds.


National trade body the Property Care Association (PCA) has developed specialist training to support professionals to spot a wide range of invasive species.

The one-day ‘Invasive Plant Identification Course’ covers certain plants listed on Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

It includes a focus on identification at all stages of each plant’s life cycle, throughout the seasons.

Those taking part are also able to see live non-native invasive specimens, which are being cultivated under stringent conditions in a specially created greenhouse environment on the PCA’s site in Huntingdon.

Dr Peter Fitzsimons, the PCA’s Invasive Weed Control Group Technical Manager, said: “This course is the first of its kind in the UK and offers insight into a subject of increasing significance.

“It is of appeal to those with an interest in the environment, in areas including the maintenance of land, invasive-species management and urban-planting schemes.”

Non-native species featured in the programme include,

  • Japanese knotweed
  • American Skunk Cabbage
  • Rhododendron
  • Giant Rhubarb
  • Creepers
  • Buddleia
  • Hottentot Fig
  • Yellow Azalea
  • Giant Hogweed
  • Few Flowered Leek
  • Three Cornered Garlic
  • Bamboo

The next course takes place on Friday, September 6 at the PCA’s training centre, in Huntingdon and dates will be set later this year to run throughout 2020.

The cost is £295 plus VAT for PCA members, and £345 plus VAT for those not in membership of the association.

More information and booking details can be found at

All those taking part also receive a free copy of both ‘Practical Management of Invasive Non-Native Weeds in Britain and Ireland’ and the ‘Field Guide to Invasive Plants and Animals In Britain.’