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Knot Your Typical Weed

Eric Ribbens
Department of Biological Sciences
Western Illinois University


Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is an invasive plant that can be very hard to eliminate. This PowerPoint-driven case study briefly describes this plant and asks students to identify possible solutions for its control when a homeowner discovers it growing next to his house. The case was designed for an introductory college course, either a general biology course or a plant biology course, and while it can be used as a regular case, it was actually written to assess the students' ability to solve a problem and write an analysis. If you teach with cases, shouldn't you test with cases as well?


  • To test the ability of students to solve a real plant problem that they are probably not familiar with.
  • To better understand problems posed by invasive plant species and the difficulties involved in their control.


Fallopia japonicum; Japanese knotweed; Polygonum cuspidatum; invasive species; weed control

Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division


PDF, PowerPoint

Type Methods

Analysis (Issues)



Subject Headings

Biology (General) Science (General) Botany / Plant Science

Date Posted


Teaching Notes

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