A global assessment of a large monocot family highlights the need for group-specific analyses of invasiveness

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Invasive Araceae. a) Pistia stratiotes, b) Alocasia macrorrhizos, c) Epipremnum aureum and d) Zantedeschia aethiopica. Photographs: Menzi Nxumalo (a), Desika Moodley (b & c) and Şerban Procheş (d).
Invasive Araceae. a) Pistia stratiotes, b) Alocasia macrorrhizos, c) Epipremnum aureum and d) Zantedeschia aethiopica. Photographs: Menzi Nxumalo (a), Desika Moodley (b & c) and Şerban Procheş (d).

There are several emerging generalizations in invasion biology, but often the factors determining invasiveness are group-specific. Similarly to certain other plant families, Araceae species (arums or aroids) that have large native ranges and that have been widely introduced are more likely to become invasive. What is unique to the family is the great diversity of growth forms, some of which are more likely to become invasive than others. In a recent study published in AoB PLANTS, Moodley et al. identify nine lineages in the family that have a greater tendency to invasiveness (including the duckweed lineage, as well as the genera Alocasia and Epipremnum), and propose a list of species that are not currently invasive for which a precautionary approach is recommended. The successful management of plant invasions will depend on understanding such context-dependent effects across taxonomic groups, and across the different stages of the invasion process.

Reference

Moodley, D., Procheş, Ş., & Wilson, J. R. U. (2016). A global assessment of a large monocot family highlights the need for group-specific analyses of invasiveness. AoB Plants, 8, plw009. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aobpla/plw009


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