Patterns of Plant Invasion in North America

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Abstract

Twenty years ago, an international conference on The Genetics of Colonizing Species was held in Asilomar. The proceedings of the conference were published in the next year (Baker and Stebbins 1965). The plant materials that were discussed then were mainly weeds.* This would seem to be a restriction but it is a fact that most colonizing plants are weeds. In North America, except for the sea shores, the moraines in front of receding glaciers, and the recolonization of devastated areas around Mount St. Helens, there are few opportunities for introduced plants to take part in plant succession. Otherwise, the disturbance in the natural system that almost always seems to be necessary for plant invaders to be successful is caused by human activities.