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Use of herbarium data to evaluate weediness in five congeners

A fallow field covered with Melampodium divaricatum, near the volcano Ceboruco in Nayarit, Mexico (Photo: A. M. Hanan-Alipi)
A fallow field covered with Melampodium divaricatum, near the volcano Ceboruco in Nayarit, Mexico (Photo: A. M. Hanan-Alipi)

A weed or not a weed? Many plant species grow somewhere on the continuum from undisturbed to very disturbed vegetation. Deciding on the degree of weediness is not an easy task, and is often based only on subjective observations. In a new study published in AoB PLANTS, Hanan-Alipi et al. compare data obtained during systematic field surveys with the habitats recorded on herbarium specimen labels, for a group of more-or-less weedy tropical species. They show that herbarium data reflect the collection bias favouring natural vegetation, but also, that the relative weediness hierarchy stays in place. The study is relevant for other ecological studies based on herbarium specimens.

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AoB PLANTS is an open-access, online journal that publishes peer-reviewed articles on all aspects of environmental and evolutionary biology. Published by Oxford University Press, AoB PLANTS provides a fast-track pathway for publishing high-quality research, where papers are available online to anyone, anywhere free of charge. Reasons to publish in AoB PLANTS include double-blind peer review of manuscripts, rapid processing time and low open-access charges.

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