Distribution and current vegetation of Cakile edentula, an invasive alien species in Korea.
Background: Cakile edentula (Bigelow) Hook. is a successful invader that has been propagating globally. In Korea, Cakile edentula was found in 2008 for the first time, in the east coast of Korean peninsula. Based on site surveys conducted thereafter, Cakile edentula has propagated in the east coast from Goseong to Jeongdongjin, Gangneung and in the west coast of city of Hwaseong of Gyeonggi-do Province, and Taeangun County of Chungcheongnam-do Province. Results: Cakile edentula has infiltrated into four different vegetation communities (syntaxa) (Calystegio soldanellae-Salsoletum komarovii Ohba, Miyawakiet Tx.1967; Elymo-caricetum Kobomugi Miyawaki 1967; Carex pumila; and Calystegia soldanella) belonging to phytosociological classes of saltwort (barilla) and coastal glehnia. Cakile edentula competes with dominant species such as the saltwort (barilla) and beach morning glory, causing qualitative changes in species composition. It also affects local ecosystems through its competition with indigenous species, causing destruction of the traditional landscape. Conclusions: However, competition of Cakile edentula with indigenous species and the resulting replacement of such species are limitedly reported. Potential competitors with Cakile edentula have not been found yet. In Northeast Asia, qualitative changes realized in local ecosystems due to invasion of Cakile edentula are significantly noticeable. These necessitate proper controls for this invasive alien species to protect and preserve coastal dune areas.