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

Special Issue: 入侵生态学专辑

• 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:2019-07-20 Published:2019-12-12
  • 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