Originally from East Asia, this deciduous shrub was introduced to the US as an ornamental plant in the early 19th century. Its ornamental value comes from its late spring blooms of creamy white flower clusters, followed by bright red berry clusters that mature throughout the fall. These berries attract a variety of bird species, which consume them and drop their highly prolific seeds. This has allowed it to escape cultivated settings and spread locally throughout the mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions.
Linden arrowwood may grow more than 15 feet in height and create dense thickets, often blocking necessary sunlight from surrounding plants. Further, its abundant reproduction and long-lasting leaves have led it to crowd out native species. As it has only been recently discovered to have these invasive tendencies, the broader ecological ramifications remain unknown. It has been listed as an invasive species in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia, but not yet in Massachusetts. To prevent dispersal, the mature seed heads should be extracted and properly disposed of. This ill-fated non-native may be removed by pulling it out of the ground or cutting it to ground level and using herbicide. Some native alternatives include smooth arrowwood, red chokeberry, and winterberry holly.