Invasion at the edge: the case of Rosa rugosa (Rosaceae) in Italy.
The Japanese Rose (Rosa rugosa) is a perennial shrub belonging to the family Rosaceae. It was introduced in Europe from East Asia as an ornamental plant in the XIX century and is now considered an invasive species, especially in northern Europe, colonising the Atlantic and Baltic coastal dune habitats and threatening local biodiversity. However, little is known about its presence and invasion patterns in the Mediterranean area. In Italy, R. rugosa has been classified as naturalised and just a few observations have been recorded in dune habitats in the North Adriatic coast. Here, we review the published data on R. rugosa in Europe and present preliminary data on the invasive pattern of R. rugosa on the Italian North Adriatic coast. We surveyed the coastline in two locations (i.e., Brussa and Bibione, Italy) where we characterised the dimension and structure (i.e., number of ramets and stem height) of the R. rugosa populations and listed the associated floristic composition. No occurrence of R. rugosa was recorded in Bibione, probably due to the success of the restoration project carried out on that site. In contrast, several stands of R. rugosa were found in Brussa, where many other alien species were also found (accounting for 15.28% of the sampled species). Given the strong invasiveness of R. rugosa, it is important to keep data on its distribution up-to-date and investigate its ecology and physiology to promote appropriate management strategies to control its spread and anticipate its future potential distribution.