Twenty extracts from plants from Sierra de Huautla Biosphere Reserve, Morelos, Mexico were evaluated against Haemonchus contortus infective larvae in an in vitro assay. The plant species evaluated were Bursera copallifera, B. grandifolia, Lippia graveolens, Passiflora mexicana, Prosopis laevigata, Randia echinocarpa and Urtica dioica. The plants were separated into their parts and macerated with different solvents (n-hexane, acetone, ethanol and methanol). An in vitro assay was used to evaluate the anthelmintic activity against unsheathed third stage H. contortus infective larvae. The experiment was carried out in 24-well cell culture plates at room temperature with three replicates per treatment and using a concentration of 20 mg ml− 1. Ten 5 μl aliquots were taken from the corresponding wells and deposited on a slide for microscopical observation at 24, 48, 72 and 96 h post-exposure. The evaluation criteria were based on the average numbers of live and/or dead larvae in the different treatments. Alive and dead larval numbers were statistically analysed through the ANOVA test (P>0.01). The Tukey test was used as a complementary tool to determine which treatment was different from the other treatments (P>0.05). The highest mortality was observed with P. laevigata hexanic extract from stem and leaves combined, which produced 51%, 81% and 86% larval mortality at 24, 48 and 72 h post-exposure, respectively. On the other hand, B. copallifera stem acetonic extract exhibited 18%, 59% and 66% nematicidal activity after 24, 48 and 72 h of exposure, respectively.