Biological Invasions

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 577–589 | Cite as

Temperate trees and shrubs as global invaders: the relationship between invasiveness and native distribution depends on biological traits

  • Petr PyšekEmail author
  • Vojtěch Jarošík
  • Jan Pergl
  • Lenka Moravcová
  • Milan Chytrý
  • Ingolf Kühn
Original Paper


Many woody plants have been recently recognized as major invasive species with serious impacts on species diversity and functioning of invaded ecosystems. We evaluated the global invasion success of temperate trees and shrubs with native ranges in central Europe and explored the role of their native distribution and that of biological traits in determining whether they have become invasive in other parts of the world. Of the 94 species forming the source-area species pool, 27 % are known to be invasive in at least one region of the world. Generalized linear models on phylogenetically non-informed analyses revealed that tall woody plants flowering early in the season, and occupying many grid cells in the native range are significantly more likely to become successful invaders than species not possessing these traits. However, other traits can partly reduce the disadvantages resulting from low regional frequencies in the native range and consequent lower probability of them being introduced elsewhere. Species that do not depend for reproduction on another individual, those pollinated by wind and dispersed by animals are likely to become invasive even if they do not have extensive native distributions. However, of these traits only the regional frequency in the native range remained significant when phylogenetic relationships were taken into account. This indicates that the effect of the regional frequency is generic, valid across all woody species, and fine-tuned by advantageous biological traits inherited from common ancestors, shared by groups of phylogenetically-related species. Traits that only appeared significant in the phylogenetically non-informed analyses should be considered as specific for shrubs and trees of central Europe. Mode of reproduction was only significant in the phylogenetically-informed analysis, indicating that reproduction exclusively by seed favours invasiveness of woody species. From the management perspective, however, the predictive value of some traits is not diminished by them being phylogenetically constrained since we are not interested whether the behaviour of particular species is a result of evolutionary history but how we can treat specific cases of invasion.


Central Europe Dispersal Distribution Invasiveness Native range Pollination Reproduction Shrubs Source area approach Tree invasions 



We thank two anonymous reviewers and David Richardson for their comments. The work was supported by grants nos. 206/09/0563 and P504/11/1028 (Czech Science Foundation), long-term research development project no. RVO 67985939 (Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic) and institutional resources of Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic. P.P. acknowledges the support by the Praemium Academiae award from the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. It is with deep sadness that we note the passing of our dear colleague and co-author Vojta Jarošík.

Supplementary material

10530_2013_600_MOESM1_ESM.doc (176 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 176 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Petr Pyšek
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Vojtěch Jarošík
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jan Pergl
    • 1
  • Lenka Moravcová
    • 1
  • Milan Chytrý
    • 4
  • Ingolf Kühn
    • 5
  1. 1.Institute of BotanyAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicPrůhoniceCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Ecology, Faculty of ScienceCharles University in PraguePragueCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of Botany and Zoology, Centre for Invasion BiologyStellenbosch UniversityMatielandSouth Africa
  4. 4.Department of Botany and ZoologyMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  5. 5.Department of Community EcologyHelmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZHalleGermany

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