Taxonomic Affiliation

Not all species/genera/families have been moved around to the same extent, so opportunities to become naturalized and invasive are not even among taxa. Invasive alien plants are nonrandomly distributed within higher taxonomic groups and this pattern has a phylogenetic background. Families with a disproportionally high representation of invasive aliens are concentrated within the classes Asteridae, Caryophyllidae, and Commelinidae. Amaranthaceae, Brassicaceae, Convolvulaceae, Malvaceae, Poaceae, Papaveraceae, and Polygonaceae are consistently over-represented in invasive/alien floras, and Fabaceae are highly successful as invaders of natural areas. Many families of aquatic or subaquatic (Alismataceae, Hydrocharitaceae, Nymphaeaceae, Potamogetonaceae, and Typhaceae) and woody plants (Myrtaceae, Rosaceae, Salicaceae, and Tamaricaceae) are over-represented among high-impact invaders. There are very few invasive aliens in the Orchidaceae and Rubiaceae. Evidence for invasiveness being phylogenetically related also at lower taxonomic levels comes from a study of gymnosperms. Twenty-eight of the 36 gymnosperms known to be invasive worldwide (78%) belong to one family (Pinaceae) and 21 of these belong to the genus Pinus.

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