Comparative phylogeographic analysis of Cuscuta campestris and Cuscuta reflexa in Kenya: implications for management of highly invasive vines.
Eastern Africa is currently infested with dodders-highly invasive vines that threaten agriculture and biodiversity. We describe historical and ecological factors that have potentially shaped dodder invasion in this region. Our results reveal high levels of genetic diversity within dodder populations, which could enhance their ability to colonize new niches. Further, we identify two main population clusters in eastern and western Kenya, a pattern that is mirrored in an established invader (Cuscuta campestris) and a recent introduction (C. reflexa). Immediate control strategies are needed to limit deliberate or inadvertent seed/vine dispersal, eradicate existing populations, and monitor influx of propagules.