Biological Invasions

, Volume 10, Issue 8, pp 1411–1429 | Cite as

Invasive alien plants in China: diversity and ecological insights

  • Ewald Weber
  • Shi-Guo Sun
  • Bo Li
Original Paper


China’s current invasive alien plant species were analyzed with regard to their floristic status, biological attributes and invasion status elsewhere. Most of the 270 species identified were annuals, followed by perennial herbs. Woody perennials made only about 10% of the species. The invasives were comprised of 59 families, the largest being Asteraceae, Poaceae, and Brassicaceae. The genera with most invasive species were Amaranthus, Ipomoea, and Solanum. Most of the species originated from the New World, notably from South America. About one-third of the species were serious invaders of natural habitats in countries other than China. The proportion of invasive alien plants in province floras ranged from 0.5 to 3.8%, absolute numbers from nine to 117 species per province. Density of invasive species was correlated positively with native species density at provincial scale. The results demonstrate that in China invasive plants are present throughout the country, with a particularly high species richness in the Southeast. The ecological diversity of invasive plants suggests wide ranging impacts which need to be assessed.


Alien species Asia China Flora Invasive alien species 



This work was financially supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (grant No. 2006CB403305), the Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 30670330), the Ministry of Education of China (grant no. 105063) and Visiting Scholars Program of Fudan University. T. Stohlgren and two anonymous reviewers provided helpful comments to an earlier version of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Coastal Ecosystems Research Station of Yangtze River Estuary, Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity and Ecological Engineering, Institute of Biodiversity ScienceFudan UniversityShanghaiP.R. China
  2. 2.Institute of Environmental SciencesUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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