Preventing establishment: an inventory of introduced plants in Puerto Villamil, Isabela Island, Galapagos.
As part of an island-wide project to identify and eradicate potentially invasive plant species before they become established, a program of inventories is being carried out in the urban and agricultural zones of the four inhabited islands in Galapagos. This study reports the results of the inventory from Puerto Villamil, a coastal village representing the urban zone of Isabela Island. We visited all 1193 village properties to record the presence of the introduced plants. In addition, information was collected from half of the properties to determine evidence for potential invasiveness of the plant species. We recorded 261 vascular taxa, 13 of which were new records for Galapagos. Most of the species were intentionally grown (cultivated) (73.3%) and used principally as ornamentals. The most frequent taxa we encountered were Cocos nucifera (coconut tree) (22.1%) as a cultivated plant and Paspalum vaginatum (salt water couch) (13.2%) as a non cultivated plant. In addition 39 taxa were naturalized. On the basis of the invasiveness study, we recommend five species for eradication (Abutilon dianthum, Datura inoxia, Datura metel, Senna alata and Solanum capsicoides), one species for hybridization studies (Opuntia ficus-indica) and three species for control (Furcraea hexapetala, Leucaena leucocephala and Paspalum vaginatum).