Genetic variation may play an important role in plant population fitness and invasion success.
Li et al. combine genetic analysis and demographic data to investigate the consequences of genetic variation for the population fitness of a perennial, invasive herb (Lupinus polyphyllus). They find that genetic variation correlates positively with the average seedling establishment in the field, but not with the fitness components of later life stages, or the long-term population growth rate (λ). The study suggests that genetic variation may facilitate plant invasions by increasing seedling establishment, but it may not necessarily affect invasion spreading after establishment.