Reproductive traits of the invasive species Acacia dealbata link. in the northern Mediterranean basin.
Among the many exotic plants introduced in the last two centuries in Northern Mediterranean Basin Acacia dealbata Link. is one of the most invasive. Despite its presence in the region since many years, it has not yet been investigated how the species has established itself and has formed small forests. In this study, we aimed to gather data on reproductive trait of the invasive species A. dealbata at the northern limit of the Mediterranean bioclimatic region. In six naturalized populations, fruit and seed set were estimated and seed germination was tested in laboratory. Two out of the six populations failed to set fruits, and the fruit set was always low as observed in other invaded areas of the world. Only three populations produced germinating seeds whose rates were comparable to other invasive areas. The seeds may constitute a long-lasting seed bank that may favour the colonization of the species in areas disturbed by external factors. In conclusion, the reproductive system may contributes only partially to the spread and invasiveness of the species in the Northern Mediterranean basin, while the plant to spread itself adopts also other vegetative strategies.