Biological Invasions

, Volume 8, Issue 7, pp 1461–1470 | Cite as

Invasive alien plants in China: role of clonality and geographical origin

  • Jian Liu
  • Ming Dong
  • Shi Li Miao
  • Zhen Yu Li
  • Ming Hua Song
  • Ren Qing Wang


Biological invasions have become a significant threat to the global environment. Unfortunately, to date there is no consensus on invasion mechanisms and predictive models. Controversies range from whether we can reliably predict which species may become invasive to which species characteristics (e.g., life history, taxonomic groups, or geographic origin) contribute to the invasion processes. We examined 126 invasive alien plant species in China to understand the role of clonality and geographical origin in their invasion success. These species were categorized into three groups (I, II, III) based on their invasiveness in terms of current spatial occupation and the degree of damage to invaded habitats. Clonal plants consisted of almost half (44%) of the 126 invasive species studied, and consisted of 66% of 32 the most invasive alien plant species (Group I). There was a significant positive relationship between clonality and species invasiveness. A 68% of the 126 species studied originated in the continent of America (North and/or South America). These preliminary findings support that America is the primary geographical origin of invasive alien plant species in China and that clonality of the invasive plant species contributed significantly to the their invasiveness. The results suggest an urgent need at the global scale to investigate the mechanisms whereby plant clonal growth influences plant invasions, and the need for a focus at regional scale to examine factors affecting the exchange of invasive plant species between America and China.


China clonality geographic origin plant invasions plant traits 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jian Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ming Dong
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
  • Shi Li Miao
    • 3
  • Zhen Yu Li
    • 4
  • Ming Hua Song
    • 5
  • Ren Qing Wang
    • 2
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Quantitative Vegetation Ecology, Institute of Botanythe Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingP. R. China
  2. 2.School of Life SciencesShandong UniversityJi’nanP. R. China
  3. 3.Everglades DivisionSouth Florida Water Management DistrictWest Palm BeachUSA
  4. 4.Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botanythe Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingP. R. China
  5. 5.Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Researchthe Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingP. R. China
  6. 6.Institute of BotanyThe Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingP. R. China

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