Parallel flowering time clines in native and introduced ragweed populations are likely due to adaptation.
As introduced species expand their ranges, they often encounter differences in climate which are often correlated with geography. For introduced species, encountering a geographically variable climate sometimes leads to the re-establishment of clines seen in the native range. However, clines can also be caused by neutral processes, and so it is important to gather additional evidence that population differentiation is the result of selection as opposed to nonadaptive processes. Here, we examine phenotypic and genetic differences in ragweed from the native (North America) and introduced (European) ranges. We used a common garden to assess phenotypic differentiation in size and flowering time in ragweed populations. We found significant parallel clines in flowering time in both North America and Europe. Height and branch number had significant clines in North America, and, while not statistically significant, the patterns in Europe were the same. We used SNP data to assess population structure in both ranges and to compare phenotypic differentiation to neutral genetic variation. We failed to detect significant patterns of isolation by distance, geographic patterns in population structure, or correlations between the major axes of SNP variation and phenotypes or latitude of origin. We conclude that the North American clines in size and the parallel clines seen for flowering time are most likely the result of adaptation.