Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2019, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (7): 601-610.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2019.0053

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Composition and spatial-temporal distribution of Chinese naturalized plants

XU Guang-Yao1,LI Hong-Yuan1,*(),MO Xun-Qiang2,MENG Wei-Qing2   

  1. 1College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Nankai University, Tianjin 300350, China
    2College of Urban and Environmental Science, Tianjin Normal University, Tianjin 300382, China
  • Received:2019-03-12 Accepted:2019-07-04 Online:2019-12-12 Published:2019-07-20
  • Contact: LI Hong-Yuan
  • Supported by:
    Supported by Science and Technology Major Project of Tianjin(18ZXSZSF00200)


Aims Invasive plants are a subset of naturalized plants, and naturalization is a fundamental precondition for plant invasion and so compiling a complete inventory of naturalized alien species is necessary for predicting and hence preventing such invasion.
Methods Based on field investigations and various literature reports, we compiled a nationwide list of the naturalized plant species of China.
Important findings The results showed that there are 1 099 naturalized plants belonging to 112 families and 578 genera in China, 70% of them were introduced intentionally and were of American origin, followed by those with European origins, herbs were prevalent among naturalized species. Compositae, Gramineae and Leguminosae were the three most dominant families. Spatially, species diversity and density decreased from the southeast coast to inland northwest. Latitude and gross domestic product is the primary driver of this pattern, however, colonial history, distribution of botanical gardens and the number of surveys may also affect formation. In temporal terms, species diversity is currently in a period of rapid growth and will continue for 20 to 30 years. Social and economic development, human disturbance, land use and global change are the main drivers. This study enriches the background information about naturalized plants and improves our knowledge on threats associated with plant invasions in China. The gained information can be used to provide arguments for efforts on control and management of alien plants or conservation of native biodiversity in the country.

Key words: biological invasion, alien plants, species composition, distribution characteristics, driving factors

Fig. 1

Pareto diagram of the main families of naturalized plants in China."

Table 1

Main genera of naturalized plants and their species number in China"

属 Genera 种数
Number of species
属 Genera 种数
Number of species
属 Genera 种数
Number of species
茄属 Solanum 23 雀稗属 Paspalum 9 金纽扣属 Acmella 6
大戟属 Euphorbia 22 飞蓬属 Erigeron 9 含羞草属 Mimosa 6
苋属 Amaranthus 19 莎草属 Cyperus 8 独行菜属 Lepidium 6
番薯属 Ipomoea 19 酢浆草属 Oxalis 7 仙人掌属 Opuntia 5
决明属 Senna 14 西番莲属 Passiflora 7 婆婆纳属 Veronica 5
月见草属 Oenothera 12 黑麦草属 Lolium 7 龙舌兰属 Agave 5
猪屎豆属 Crotalaria 11 松属 Pinus 6 藜属 Chenopodium 5
车轴草属 Trifolium 11 雀麦属 Bromus 6 蒺藜草属 Cenchrus 5
相思树属 Acacia 10 莲子草属 Alternanthera 6 山香属 Hyptis 5
桉属 Eucalyptus 10 狼尾草属 Pennisetum 6 白花菜属 Cleome 5

Fig. 2

Origin distribution of naturalized plants in China. AF, Africa; C, cultivate; EU, Europe; H, hybridization; MZ, Mediterranean Zone; NA, North America; OA, Oceania; PI, Pacific Islands; PT, palaeo tropics; SA, South America; TemA, Temperate Asia; TroA, Tropical Asia; U, unspecified."

Fig. 3

Life type statistics of naturalized plants in China. Ar, arbor; HL, herbaceous liane; S, shrub; WL, wood liane; A, annual plants; B, biennial plants; P, perennial plants; A/P, annual or perennial plants; A/B, annual or biennial plants."

Fig. 4

Introduction of naturalized plants in China. Af, afforestation; Be, beverage; Co, compound; CR, cotton ramie; Dy, dye; FAV, fruits and vegetables; FI, Food intake; FS, flowering shrubs; GC, ground cover; GM, green manure; GP, gene pool; Gr, grain; He, hedge; O, oil; Or, ornamental; Pe, perfume; SC, sugar crop; ST, street trees; SWG, soil and water conservation; Wo, wood."

Fig. 5

Accumulation of Chinese naturalized plants species over time."

Table 2

Naturalized plant species and density in provinces of China"

密度 Density
(Species number·
10 000 km-2)
密度 Density
(Species number·
10 000 km-2)
Northeast China
黑龙江 Heilongjiang 189 28 4.2 30 华东
East China
山东 Shandong 302 17 19.6 16
吉林 Jilin 180 30 9.6 27 江苏 Jiangsu 388 8 37.8 10
辽宁 Liaoning 276 22 18.9 18 安徽 Anhui 298 19 21.3 15
North China
内蒙古 Nei Mongol 162 31 1.4 34 上海 Shanghai 319 15 506.1 3
河北 Hebei 246 24 13.1 26 浙江 Zhejiang 440 6 43.1 8
北京 Beijing 336 12 204.8 4 江西 Jiangxi 385 9 23.1 13
天津 Tianjin 144 33 127.0 6 福建 Fujian 493 5 40.6 9
山西 Shanxi 223 25 14.3 24 西南
Southwest China
四川 Sichuan 355 10 7.4 28
Central China
河南 Henan 291 20 17.4 19 重庆 Chongqing 286 21 34.8 11
湖北 Hubei 306 16 16.5 20 贵州 Guizhou 333 13 18.9 17
湖南 Hunan 326 14 15.4 22 云南 Yunnan 518 4 13.5 25
South China
广东 Guangdong 572 2 31.8 12 西藏 Xizang 202 26 1.6 33
广西 Guangxi 526 3 22.3 14 西北
Northwest China
陕西 Shaanxi 301 18 14.6 23
海南 Hainan 428 7 124.9 7 甘肃 Gansu 198 27 4.4 29
香港 Hong Kong 352 11 3 200.3 2 青海 Qinghai 157 32 2.2 32
澳门 Macao 180 29 72 000.1 1 宁夏 Ningxia 106 34 16.0 21
台湾 Taiwan 628 1 174.4 5 新疆 Xinjiang 268 23 2.3 31

Fig. 6

Cumulation of main genera (above) and families (below) of naturalized plants in China. The dashed line indicates average distribution of each specie for all genus or family."

Fig. 7

Regression tree of naturalized species richness and key social and environmental factors. ①②③, regression node; LAT, latitude; GDP, gross domestic product."

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