Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Clonal traits and plant invasiveness: the case of Carpobrotus N.E.Br. (Aizoaceae).

Abstract

Biological invasions represent one of the most important threats to biodiversity conservation at a global scale. What makes a plant to be a successful invader is a question not completely resolved yet, in spite of the effort devoted during the last decades. In this review it is discussed the importance of characteristics associated with clonal growth to explain the success of clonal invaders. In particular, it summarizes previous research denoting the importance of clonal traits to explain the invasiveness of different species of the genus Carpobrotus around the world. The studies reported in this review indicate that clonal traits play an important role in the expansion of Carpobrotus. In particular, physiological integration, either by supporting developing ramets or by inducing division of labour, increases the overall performance of Carpobrotus growing in a variety of environments. In addition, the role of stolons as storage organs allows Carpobrotus survive and re-grow after disturbance, and potentially contribute to the expansion of this invader in coastal ecosystems. Also it is suggested a number of future directions that could contribute to elucidate the importance of clonality to understand plant invasions, with particular focus on Carpobrotus spp.