Biological Invasions

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 177–190 | Cite as

Habitat requirements, short-term population dynamics and coexistence of native and invasive Impatiens species: a field study

  • Jan ČudaEmail author
  • Hana Skálová
  • Zdeněk Janovský
  • Petr Pyšek
Original Paper


The genus Impatiens (Balsaminaceae) includes three widespread species in the Czech Republic, central Europe: the native I. noli-tangere, and two invasive species, I. parviflora and I. glandulifera, differing in the dynamics of invasion. They all occur in similar habitats and share basic life-history characteristics, which make them a suitable model for studying species traits associated with invasiveness. In this study we investigated differences in habitat requirements of these Impatiens species, their coexistence and short-term population dynamics in the field. We established 84 1 × 1 m permanent plots in five localities where all three species co-occurred. In each plot vascular plant species were determined, their cover estimated and all individuals of Impatiens species counted. Site characteristics including tree canopy cover, soil moisture, nitrogen and carbon content, and slope were measured directly. Nutrients, light, humidity and soil reaction were estimated using Ellenberg indicator values. The presence of I. noli-tangere was strongly correlated with high soil moisture, that of I. parviflora with high tree canopy cover and low soil moisture. Impatiens glandulifera exhibited a unimodal response to tree canopy cover, avoiding both very shaded and fully open sites. The current-year abundances of all species were negatively related to those of congeneric species. These results suggest that the coexistence of Impatiens species in the same habitat is due to microsite differentiation. Further spread of I. glandulifera to new habitats, and reduction of the native I. noli-tangere niche, can be expected in areas where the latter species co-occurs with competitively strong invasive congeners.


Balsam Canopy cover Congeneric species Ellenberg indicator values Microsite differentiation Soil moisture 



We thank Radka Pokorná and Mirek Martinec for their help in the field. Christina Alba kindly improved our English and commented on the manuscript. The work was supported by grant GACR 206/07/0668 (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. Petr Pyšek acknowledges the support of a Praemium Academiae award from the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Čuda
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Hana Skálová
    • 1
  • Zdeněk Janovský
    • 3
  • Petr Pyšek
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of BotanyAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicPrůhoniceCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of EcologyCharles UniversityPragueCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of BotanyCharles UniversityPragueCzech Republic

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