Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Historical flora of Moscow's Railway Junction (until 2012).

Abstract

The article touches upon the biodiversity at the railways. The list of species found within the Moscow Railways (∼300 km) from 1851 until today has been compiled based on herbarium data [MHA, MW, LE] and personal observations conducted in 1980-2016. The list of "railways' flora" includes 1087 taxa from 447 genera of 94 families - this is significantly higher than what is known for the railroads of other regions. A brief comparative analysis with the "railways' flora" in other regions of the world in respect of the species number, taxonomy and life form spectrum has been performed. The therophytes absolutely prevail in the life-form spectrum (46 percent). The role of the railways as a pathway for alien species has been confirmed. Around 54 percent of all alien plants recorded for the Moscow Region (Moscow and Moscow Region) grow along the railways. Several species new for the former USSR territory was found there, as well as many species new for the Moscow Region. The Railways are not only "donors/sources" of alien species, they also act as a refugee area for "the escapees": over 30 years, Asclepias syriaca has been growing within the section of the Kursk-Moscow railway located near the All-Russian Research Institute of Medical and Aromatic Plants. Galega officinalis, a specie that forms a 200 m2 area of tangled vegetation, was found there, too. A trend when plants fall out of cultivation was established, this is how Sedum hispanicum and S. album emerged. The article also marks the role of the rail slopes as a refugium of rare and endangered plants of the natural flora: some 35 species included in the Red Book of Moscow were found within the area.