Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Plants or parts of plants (pathway vector)



Plants or parts of plants (pathway vector)


  • Last modified
  • 26 September 2017
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Pathway Vector
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Plants or parts of plants (pathway vector)
  • Overview
  • Plants and parts of plants is a very large concept, and is the most important pathway of introduction for alien plant pests and diseases. It includes over 90% of all introductions of plant pests, which are themselves the most commonly introduced...

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Plants or parts of plants (pathway vector)

International Common Names

  • English: Bonsais; Cut flowers; Cut flowers/cuttings; Fruits; Leaves; Plants for planting/nursery stock; Seeds; Stems; Timber/logs/fresh wood; Vegetables
  • Spanish: Plantas y partes des plantas
  • French: Plantes ou parties de plantes

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Pflanzen und Pflanzenteile


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Plants and parts of plants is a very large concept, and is the most important pathway of introduction for alien plant pests and diseases. It includes over 90% of all introductions of plant pests, which are themselves the most commonly introduced alien organisms. Most herbivorous insects, mites, nematodes and plant diseases are introduced via the trade of their host plant. The commodity involved in the introduction can be fruits, vegetables, seeds, plants for planting, cut flowers, logs, etc. In most cases, pests and diseases also use their host plant as the main means of dispersal to spread within the invaded region. The plant trade can also carry other invasive organisms such as other plants, which can be introduced as seed contaminants, or non-herbivorous invertebrates such as predators or parasitoids.


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Summary of organism types or species introduced

By far the most abundant organisms introduced with a plant or parts of plant are invertebrates and pathogens using this plant as a food resource or habitat. In particular, most plant pests (insects, mites, nematodes, etc.) and diseases (fungi, bacteria, viruses or viroids) have been introduced on their host plant. These are usually transported by cargo, on agricultural and horticultural commodities such as fruits, vegetables or ornamentals (McCullough et al., 2006; Kenis et al., 2007), or in baggage of individual travelers (Liebhold et al., 2006). In Europe, during the period 1995-2004, the most intercepted plant pests were the tobacco whitefly Bemisia tabaci (1502 interceptions; 22% of all insect interceptions), the leaf mining agromyzid fly Liriomyza huidobrensis (658; 10%), the cotton bollworm Helicoverpa armigera (447; 7%) and the western flower thrips Frankliniella occidentalis (222; 3%) (Roques and Auger-Rozenberg, 2006). These four species are all polyphagous greenhouse pests in Europe and are frequently carried on a variety of vegetables and ornamental plants. In general, insects are more frequently intercepted than other plant pests, mainly because they are more easily detectable. Among the non-indigenous organisms intercepted by USDA APHIS and recorded in the PIN database (1984-2000), 77.5% were insects, 13.1% plant pathogens, 0.8% mites and 0.1% nematodes. Over 95% were intercepted on plants and parts of plants (McCullough et al., 2006). Among plant pathogens, the most common genera were the fungi Cercospora sp. and Elsinoe sp., and the bacterium Xanthomonas sp.

Other kinds or organisms can travel as stowaways on traded plants or plant material, for example seeds of alien plants, non-herbivorous invertebrates or even small vertebrates. Although this kind of introduction is rather marginal compared to plant pests and diseases, they may sometimes have major consequences, such as the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, a vector of serious human and animal diseases found traveling inside bags watering lucky bamboos in Europe (Roques et al., 2009). 

Principle processes

In general, plants and parts of plants are transported in large quantities for commercial purpose, by plane, boat, road or train, mainly as food products (vegetables, fruits, grains, etc.), ornamentals (plants for planting, cut flowers, bonsais, aquarium plants, etc) or unprocessed wood (logs). Plants and plant parts, in particular fruits, vegetables, seeds and cut flowers are also frequently carried in baggage by individual travelers (Liebhold et al., 2006). Forest and orchard trees can theoretically represent another pathway of introduction but rather at short distances through the seedling trade. Between continents, trees are usually transported as seeds, that limits but does not entirely eliminate the chance of introducing plant pests and diseases. For example, it is suspected that the Douglas-fir seed chalcid, Megastigumus spermothrophus, a serious pest in European seed orchards, was introduced in seeds from North America (Mailleux et al., 2008).

Geographical routes and corridors

There is no particular route and corridors for this pathway since all regions in the world exchange plant products. There are, however, important variations over time in the respective importance of these routes. For example, it is clear that importations of Asian ornamentals or tropical fruits from the tropics to Europe or North America are increasing more rapidly than other imports. Some commodities and their related pests are strongly associated with specific exporting countries. In Europe, 96.7% of the alien insects intercepted on imported bonsai trees came from China, whereas 47.9% of the insects intercepted on fresh wood and bark came from Russia (Kenis et al., 2007).

Human-mediated history

The food trade has a very long history. Grains and seeds have been transported over long distances for centuries. The transport of fresh fruits, vegetables and timber has expanded since the late 1800s and early 1900s, when faster means of transport were developed. In contrast, the ornamental trade is rather recent and is presently developing very rapidly in all continents.

Species Transported by Vector

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SpeciesNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Abutilon grandifolium (hairy Indian mallow)Risk of propagule dispersal through produce contamination is low Yes Yes Coordinating Group Alien Pest Species (CGAPS) (2014)
Acacia glauca (wild dividivi)occurs as a seed contaminant Yes Yes
Achatina fulica (giant African land snail)Nursery trade Yes
Achlysiella williamsi Yes
Aculops fuchsiae (Fuchsia gall mite)On infested cuttings Yes Yes Koehler et al. (1985)
Adelges tsugae (hemlock woolly adelgid) Yes Yes
Adiantum raddianum (delta maidenhair fern) Yes
Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito) Yes Yes
Aeschynomene americana (shyleaf)Used as forage and green manure Yes Yes Cook et al. (2005)
Ageratina riparia (mistflower) Yes
Agrilus planipennis (emerald ash borer) Yes Yes Cappaert et al. (2005); Haack et al. (2002)
Agrostis capillaris (common bent)as seed Yes
Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven)Frequent, seed or clonal growth Yes Yes Kowarik and Säumel (2007)
Akebia quinata (five-leaf akebia) Yes Yes
Aleurotrachelus atratus (palm-infesting whitefly)Eggs or larvae can be carried on foliage Yes
Alhagi maurorum (camelthorn)Alfalfa seeds; date palm offshoots Yes
Alternaria japonica (pod spot of radish)infected/infested seed Yes Yes McLean (1947); Neergaard (1945); Tohyama and Tsuda (1990); Tohyama and Tsuda (1995); Valkonen and Koponen (1990); Vannacci and Pecchia (1988)
Alternaria triticina (leaf blight of wheat)seedborne Yes Yes Kumar and Arya (1973a); Prabhu and Prasada (1966)
Alternaria yali-inficiens (chocolate spot of Ya Li Pear)Known only from Ya Li pear Yes Roberts (2005)
Amaranthus dubius (spleen amaranth) Yes Yes
Amaranthus palmeri (Palmer amaranth)As a contaminant of grains Yes Yes EPPO (2019)
Amaranthus tuberculatus (rough-fruited water-hemp)Transported internationally as a grain contaminant Yes Manual of the Alien Plants of Belgium (2015)
Amynthas agrestis (crazy worm)All stages possible in soil or other organic material accompanying plants Yes Yes Tandy (1969)
Anastrepha fraterculus (South American fruit fly)Immatures in fruit Yes Yes
Anastrepha grandis (South American cucurbit fruit fly)Immatures in fruit Yes Yes
Anastrepha ludens (Mexican fruit fly)Immatures in fruit Yes Yes
Anastrepha obliqua (West Indian fruit fly)Immatures in fruit Yes Yes
Anastrepha serpentina (sapodilla fruit fly)Immatures in fruit Yes Yes
Anastrepha striata (guava fruit fly)Immatures in fruit Yes Yes
Anastrepha suspensa (Caribbean fruit fly)Immatures in fruit Yes Yes
Anolis aeneus (bronze anole)Adults, juveniles or eggs possible Yes
Anolis cristatellus (Puerto Rican crested anole)Adults, juveniles or eggs Yes
Anolis extremus (Barbados anole)Adults, juveniles or eggs possible Yes
Anolis trinitatis (St Vincent bush anole)Adults, juveniles or eggs Yes
Anolis wattsi (Watts' anole)Adults, juveniles or eggs possible Yes White and Hailey (2006)
Anoplolepis gracilipes (yellow crazy ant) Yes Yes
Anoplophora chinensis (black and white citrus longhorn)Accidentally spread with woody plants for planting being shipped infested with eggs or larvae. Dozens of interceptions in Europe since 1980. Yes Haack et al. ( 2010); EFSA (2019); Hérard and Maspero (2019)
Aphelenchoides besseyi (rice leaf nematode)Grasses in paddy fields Yes
Apiognomonia errabunda (anthracnose) Yes
Arctotheca calendula (capeweed) Yes
Argemone mexicana (Mexican poppy)Seed contaminant Yes
Arion vulgaris (Spanish slug) Yes Yes Dörler et al. (2018)
Arkoola nigra (black leaf blight of soybean)crop debris, seeds Yes Walker and Stovold (1986)
Armillaria limonea Yes Yes
Armillaria novae-zelandiae Yes Yes
Arthraxon hispidus (small carpetgrass) Yes
Arthurdendyus triangulatus (New Zealand flatworm)Probably both adults and egg capsules could be introduced in this way Yes Yes Blackshaw and Stewart (1992); Cannon et al. (1999); Dynes et al. (2001); Willis and Edwards (1977)
Arundo donax (giant reed) Yes Yes Dudley (2000)
Aulacaspis yasumatsui (cycad aulacaspis scale) Yes Yes
Austropuccinia psidii (myrtle rust)Infected plant material Yes Yes Carnegie and Cooper (2011); Kawanishi et al. (2009); Loope (2010); Loope et al. (2007); Zambino and Nolan (2012)
Avena sterilis (winter wild oat)Wheat grain contaminant Yes
Bactericera cockerelli (tomato/potato psyllid) Yes Yes
Bactrocera cucurbitae (melon fly)Less frequently eggs and larvae inside stem, root or leaves Yes Yes
Bactrocera dorsalis (Oriental fruit fly)Fruits infested with eggs and/or larvae Yes Yes
Bactrocera musae (banana fruit fly)Larvae in infested fruit brought from mainland Papua New Guinea, low population levels Yes Mararuai et al. (2002)
Bactrocera zonata (peach fruit fly)Fruits infested with larvae and/or eggs Yes Yes
Banana bunchy top virus (bunchy top of banana) Yes Yes
Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal)Disposal of possibly infected materials associated with captive salamanders Yes Cunningham et al. (2015)
Bipolaris victoriae (Victoria blight of oats) Yes Yes
Bothriocephalus acheilognathiInfected copepods may attach to aquatic vegetation. Yes Yes
Botryosphaeria berengeriana f.sp. pyricola (Physalospora canker)fruit Yes Yes Al-Haq et al. (2003)
Brachyponera chinensis (Asian needle ant) Yes Yes
Bromus secalinus (rye brome)Common seed contaminant Yes Afonin et al. (2016)
Bromus tectorum (downy brome)All Yes
Cactoblastis cactorum (cactus moth) Yes Yes
Calacarus carinatus (purple tea mite) Yes Yes IPPC-Secretariat (2005)
Calonectria pseudonaviculata (Buxus blight)Infected plants Yes Yes Henricot and Culham (2002); Saracchi et al. (2008)
Calopogonium mucunoides (calopo)Seeds Yes Yes Cook et al. (2005)
Cameraria ohridella (horsechestnut leafminer) Yes Yes Gilbert et al. (2005)
Candidatus Liberibacter africanus (African greening) Yes Yes
Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (citrus greening) Yes
Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (zebra chip) Yes Yes
Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas) Yes Yes
Candidatus Phytoplasma australiense Yes Yes
Candidatus Phytoplasma phoeniciumPlant trade (probably) Yes Yes Verdin et al. (2004)
Candidatus Phytoplasma rubi (witches'-broom phytoplasma disease) Yes Yes
Candidatus Phytoplasma solani (Stolbur phytoplasma) Yes Yes
Candidatus Phytoplasma trifolii (clover proliferation phytoplasma) Yes Yes
Carduus nutans (nodding thistle)Crop seed Yes
Cassytha filiformis (love-vine)An accidental introduction into USA on ornamental Protea plants has been reported Yes Yes USDA (2007)
Castilla elastica (Mexican rubber tree)Seeds and seedlings Yes Wright (1912)
Centaurea debeauxii (meadow knapweed)Infrequent – as possible contaminant of commercial agricultural seed Yes
Centaurea solstitialis (yellow starthistle) Yes Yes
Centella asiatica (Asiatic pennywort) Yes Yes
Ceratitis cosyra (mango fruit fly) Yes
Chilo suppressalis (striped rice stem borer)Eggs, larvae Yes Yes
Chondrilla juncea (rush skeletonweed) Yes USDA-FS (2015)
Christella dentata (soft fern)Unknown speculated about in the literature. Yes Yes Murakami et al. (2007); Strother and Smith (1970); Wagner (1950); Wagner (1972)
Chromolaena odorata (Siam weed)As a seed contaminant Yes Yes Chevalier (1949)
Chrysomphalus dictyospermi (dictyospermum scale)With fruit and live plants Yes
Chrysomyxa abietis (needle rust of fir) Yes Yes Schrader and Hennon (2005); Takahashi and Saho (1985)
Chrysomyxa himalensis (needle rust of spruce)Probable means of transport for various Chrysomyxa rusts Yes Yes Bennell (1985)
Chrysomyxa rhododendri (European Rhododendron rust) Yes Yes Bennell (1985)
Ciborinia allii (neck rot of onion)seed Yes Yes Stewart and Franicevic (1994)
Cinchona pubescens (quinine tree)Seeds planted to produce quinine plantations Yes Starr et al. (2003)
Cinnamomum burmanni (padang cassia) Yes Yes Franck (2012)
Cirsium arvense (creeping thistle)Contaminated crop seed Yes
Cirsium mexicanum (Mexican thistle)Contaminant in crop seed Yes Yes Holm et al. (1997)
Cirsium vulgare (spear thistle)Baled or loose hay Yes
Citrus leprosis virus C (leprosis of citrus)Viruliferous vectors. Yes
Clavibacter nebraskensis (Goss's bacterial wilt and leaf blight) Yes Yes
Clavibacter sepedonicus (potato ring rot)Potato tuber Yes Yes
Claviceps africana (ergot)conidia Yes Yes Bandyopadhyay et al. (1998)
Claviceps fusiformis (pearl millet ergot)Sclerotia mixed with grain Yes Yes Pathak et al. (1984)
Claviceps gigantea (horse's tooth)Sclerotia Yes Richardson (1990)
Claviceps sorghi (sorghum ergot) Yes Yes Bandyopadhyay et al. (1996)
Clerodendrum chinense (Chinese glory bower) Yes Yes PIER (2012)
Clerodendrum quadriloculare (bronze-leaved clerodendrum) Yes Yes PIER (2012); USDA-NRCS (2012)
Clidemia hirta (Koster's curse)With coffee plants for planting in one case and as a seed contaminant in another Yes Binggeli (2003); Mune and Parham (1967)
Clover yellow mosaic virus Yes Yes
Coccinella septempunctata (seven-spot ladybird) Yes Yes
Coconut cadang-cadang viroid (cadang cadang disease)Seed & veg propagating material of putative tropical monocot hosts of CCCVd related RNA moved freely Yes Yes
Colletotrichum coccodes (black dot of potato) Yes Yes Tsror et al. (1999a)
Coptotermes formosanus (Formosan subterranean termite) Yes
Coptotermes gestroi (Asian subterranean termite)On tree bark Yes Yes Scheffrahn and Su (2000)
Cornu aspersum (common garden snail) Yes Yes
Cornus sericea (redosier dogwood)Parts of plant transported by water Yes Kelly (1990)
Cosmos caudatus (wild cosmos) Yes Yes
Cotton leaf curl disease complex (leaf curl disease of cotton)Cai et al. (2010)
Cotton leaf curl Gezira virus
Cowpea mild mottle virus (angular mosaic of beans)Cai et al. (2008)
Crassostrea virginica (eastern oyster) Yes
Cronartium flaccidum (Scots pine blister rust) Yes USDA/APHIS (2008)
Cronartium ribicola (white pine blister rust)Aeciospores Yes
Crumenulopsis sororia Yes
Cucumber green mottle mosaic virusOccurs less often than seed trade but movement of infected seedlings is an important way for spread of the virus locally and regionally Yes Yes
Cucurbit aphid-borne yellows virus (Cucurbit aphid-borne yellows)Possible dispersion by infected seedlings Yes Yes
Curtobacterium flaccumfaciens pv. flaccumfaciens (bacterial wilt of dry beans)important Yes Yes
Cuscuta campestris (field dodder) Yes Yes
Cuscuta japonica (Japanese dodder) Yes Yes
Cydalima perspectalis (box tree moth)Buxus spp. Yes Leuthardt et al. (2010)
Cymbopogon citratus (lemongrass)Leaves and shoots are distributed commercially Yes Yes Oyen (1999)
Cynodon nlemfuensis (African Bermuda-grass)Seeds are widely commercialized Yes Yes Cook et al. (2005)
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern) Yes Yes
Daucus carota (carrot)Seed or grain contaminant Yes Yes
Deanolis albizonalis (mango seed borer)Wood material through edible fruits carriage. Yes
Dendroctonus pseudotsugae (Douglas-fir beetle) Yes
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern)Purchases for outdoor horticulture can result in spore dispersal in new and distant regions Yes Yes
Deroceras invadens (tramp slug) Yes Yes
Deroceras laeve (meadow slug)Agriculture and gardening Yes AnimalBase (2015)
Desmostachya bipinnata (halfa grass) Yes
Diaporthe gulyae (Phomopsis stem canker of sunflower)Potentially an inoculum reservoir Yes Yes Thompson et al. (2015)
Dickeya zeae (bacterial stalk rot of maize)
Didymella fabae (leaf and pod spot)Infected seed, crop debris Yes Yes Hewett (1966); Jellis and Punithalingam (1991); Kaiser (1997)
Digitaria ciliaris (southern crabgrass)Seeds as contaminant in crop and grass seeds Yes Yes Holm et al. (1979)
Digitaria insularis (sourgrass) Yes
Dioscorea bulbifera (air potato)Tubers and bulbils Yes Yes ISSG (2012)
Diplodia seriata (grapevine trunk disease) Yes Yes
Diprion similis (white pine sawfly) Yes
Discus rotundatus (rotund disc)Not explicitly mentioned in literature, but likely based on the species’ biology Yes
Dreissena polymorpha (zebra mussel) Yes Yes
Drosophila suzukii (spotted wing drosophila) Yes
East Asian Passiflora virus Yes Yes
Echinocystis lobata (wild cucumber) Yes Yes
Echium plantagineum (Paterson's curse)Grain and hay movement. Yes
Eleutherodactylus coqui (Caribbean tree frog) Yes Yes
Eleutherodactylus planirostris (greenhouse frog) Yes Yes Christy et al. (2007)
Emex australis (Doublegee)Grain, fodder, fruit Yes
Emex spinosa (spiny emex)Grain and fodder Yes
Epilobium ciliatum (northern willowherb) Yes Yes
Epiphyas postvittana (light brown apple moth)Eggs, larvae or pupae on foliage Yes
Eragrostis amabilis (Japanese lovegrass)Seeds Yes Yes Popay et al. (2008)
Eragrostis ciliaris (gophertail lovegrass)Seeds contaminating traded grain crops Yes PlantNet (2018)
Eragrostis lehmanniana (Lehmann lovegrass)Introduced as a forage grass to arid areas of the world Yes PROTA (2015); Uchytil (1992)
Eragrostis pilosa (India lovegrass)Seed Yes Alien plants of Belgium (2018)
Eragrostis plana (South African lovegrass)Transported with seeds from other plants Yes Yes
Eragrostis unioloides (Chinese lovegrass)Seed Yes
Erigeron karvinskianus (Karwinsky’s fleabane)Perhaps first introduced unintentionally in India along with seeds of ornamental plants from Austral Yes Yes Rao and Sagar (2012)
Erionota torus (banana skipper)Local movement of planting material may facilitate movement of associated early stages of E. torus. Yes Cock (2015)
Erwinia amylovora (fireblight) Yes Yes
Euphorbia terracina (false caper) Yes
Euschistus heros (Neotropical brown stink bug) Yes Yes Medeiros et al. (1997); Saluso et al. (2011)
Ferrisia virgata (striped mealybug)Accidental introduction on plant material Yes Yes
Festuca pratensis (meadow fescue) Yes Yes Darbyshire (2007)
Forficula auricularia (European earwig)frequent and important pathway for this species; nymphs and adults Yes Yes
Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips)Commonly transported locally and over long distances on cut flowers, transplants, ornamental plants. Yes Yes Mound (1983)
Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense tropical race 4 (Foc TR4) Yes Yes
Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. niveum (Fusarium wilt of watermelon)Diseased seedlings, rare Yes Keinath; 2020
Galega officinalis (goatsrue) Yes
Genista monspessulana (Montpellier broom) Yes
Geosmithia morbida (thousand cankers disease)Walnut wood Yes Yes
Gilpinia hercyniae (spruce sawfly) Yes
Globodera rostochiensis (yellow potato cyst nematode)Cysts, juveniles, eggs Yes Yes
Globodera tabacum (tobacco cyst nematode)Cysts in soil Yes
Gnathotrichus sulcatus (western hemlock wood stainer) Yes
Grapevine red blotch virus (grapevine red blotch virus) Yes Yes Sudarshana et al. (2015)
Haplodiplosis marginata (saddle gall midge) Yes Yes
Harmonia axyridis (harlequin ladybird)Found on imported flowers from the Netherlands to UK Yes Majerus et al. (2006)
Harpophora maydis (late wilt of maize)seedborne Yes Yes Michail et al. (1999); Mohamed et al. (1967); Samra et al. (1963)
Hedychium coronarium (white butterfly ginger lily) Yes
Hedychium flavescens (wild ginger) Yes Yes
Hedychium gardnerianum (kahili ginger) Yes Yes
Heterodera avenae (cereal cyst eelworm)Cysts in soil. Yes
Heterodera glycines (soybean cyst nematode)Cysts in soil. Yes
Heterodera goettingiana (pea cyst eelworm)Cysts as contaminants. Yes
Hirschfeldia incana (shortpod mustard) Yes South East Natural Resources Management Board (2009)
Hop stunt viroid (hop stunt viroid) Yes Yes Hadidi et al. (2003)
Hydrilla verticillata (hydrilla) Yes Yes
Hydrocotyle ranunculoides (floating pennywort) Yes Yes
Hymenoscyphus fraxineus (ash dieback)infected saplings from nurseries Yes Kirisits et al. (2009); Schumacher et al. (2010); Talgø et al. (2009)
Hypogeococcus pungens (cactus mealybug) Yes
Hypothenemus hampei (coffee berry borer)Eggs, larvae, pupae, adults Yes Yes
Icerya samaraia (steatococcus scale) Yes Yes Miller et al. (2014a); Miller et al. (2014b)
Impatiens glandulifera (Himalayan balsam)seed Yes Beerling and Perrins (1993)
Inula britannica (british yellowhead) Yes
Ips hauseri (Kyrgyz mountain engraver) Yes
Ips subelongatus (larch bark beetle) Yes
Iris yellow spot virus (iris yellow spot)Infected seedlings Yes Yes Gent et al. (2006); Pappu et al. (2009)
Jatropha gossypiifolia (bellyache bush) Yes
Kyllinga nemoralis (white kyllinga) Yes Yes MPI (2016)
Lachnellula willkommii (European larch canker) Yes Tegethoff (1965)
Lampropeltis californiae (California kingsnake)Accidentally transported on ornamental trees Yes Yes Verzelen et al. (2017)
Lasius neglectus (invasive garden ant) Yes Yes
Leonurus sibiricus (Siberian motherwort)Available in local drugstores and markets in China Yes Keng (1974); Schmidt et al. (2013)
Lepidium draba (hoary cress)Mattress materials Yes
Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Colorado potato beetle)In Europe, adults are more often found contaminating non-host vegetables than host. In a crop rotati Yes
Leptocybe invasa (blue gum chalcid) Yes Yes
Leptospermum scoparium (manuka) Yes
Ligustrum lucidum (broad-leaf privet)Able to reproduce vegetatively Yes Swarbrick et al. (1999)
Ligustrum sinense (Chinese privet) Yes
Lilioceris lilii (lily leaf beetle) Yes Yes
Limax maximus (leopard slug)Not uncommon Yes Yes
Limnocharis flava (yellow bur-head) Yes
Limnomysis benedeniInadvertent stocking with aquatic plants. Yes
Linepithema humile (Argentine ant) Yes Yes
Ludwigia grandiflora (water primrose) Yes Yes
Ludwigia peploides (water primrose) Yes Yes
Lupinus polyphyllus (garden lupin) Yes Yes NOBANIS (2015)
Lymantria dispar (gypsy moth) Yes Yes Kean et al. (2015); McManus (2007)
Lymantria mathura (pink gypsy moth) Yes
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) Yes Thompson et al. (1987)
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug)Important means of movement of eggs, larvae, nymphs, pupae and adults over long and short distances Yes Yes Harman (in press)
Marisa cornuarietis (giant ramshorn)Associated with aquatic plants Yes Yes
Medicago polymorpha (bur clover) Yes Yes
Meloidogyne incognita (root-knot nematode)Movement of infected plants. Yes Yes
Mesosphaerum pectinatum (comb bushmint) Yes Yes
Mikania micrantha (bitter vine) Yes
Moneilema semipunctatum (cactus borer beetle)May be present as adults or larvae in plants collected from the wild Yes Yes Woodruff (2010)
Monilinia fructigena (brown rot) Yes Batra (1991); Byrde and Willetts (1977)
Moniliophthora roreri (frosty pod rot)Dominant dispersal associated with movement of cocoa pods and seeds Yes
Monilochaetes infuscans (scurf of sweet potato) Yes
Monochamus sutor (small white-marmorated longicorn) Yes
Mononychellus tanajoa (cassava green mite)Eggs, crawlers/adults. Common pathway Yes Yes
Mycosphaerella citri (greasy spot)Dead leaves. Yes
Mycosphaerella gibsonii (needle blight of pine) Yes Yes
Myriophyllum aquaticum (parrot's feather)Stem fragments in flowing waters Yes Yes Sidorkewicj et al. (2000)
Nassella trichotoma (serrated tussock grass)Crop seeds; fodder. Yes
Neolecanium cornuparvum (magnolia scale) Yes Yes
Neonotonia wightii (perennial soybean) Yes Cook et al. (2005)
Nesticella mogera (cave-dwelling spider) Yes Yes Rozwalka et al. (2013)
Nymphaea lotus (white Egyptian lotus) Yes
Olea europaea subsp. europaea (European olive) Yes Yes
Onopordum acaulon (horse thistle) Yes Yes
Onopordum illyricum (Illyrian thistle) Yes Yes
Ophiostoma longicollumwood containing insect and fungus? Yes Davis et al. (2005)
Opogona sacchari (banana moth) Yes
Opuntia stricta (erect prickly pear)As an ornamental Yes
Orobanche cernua (nodding broomrape) Yes Yes
Orobanche cumana (sunflower broomrape) Yes Yes
Orobanche ramosa (branched broomrape) Yes Yes
Oryctes boas (rhinoceros beetle)Rotting vegetable matter Yes
Osteopilus septentrionalis (Cuban treefrog) Yes
Oxychilus alliarius (garlic snail) Yes USDA (1964)
Papuana huebneri (taro beetle)Taro corms or propagating material Yes Yes
Paracoccus marginatus (papaya mealybug)Air and surface transport of ornamental and crop plant material Yes Yes
Paratachardina pseudolobata (lobate lac scale) Yes
Paratrechina longicornis (crazy ant) Yes
Parthenium hysterophorus (parthenium weed)Animal dung, compost, etc Yes Yes PAG (2000)
Paspalum distichum (knotgrass) Yes Yes
Paspalum urvillei (Vasey grass) Yes Yes
Passiflora ligularis (sweet granadilla)As seed, seedlings, cuttings Yes Yes
Passion fruit woodiness virus (passionfruit woodiness disease)In live Passiflora plant tissue Yes Yes Baker et al. (2014)
Paysandisia archon (South American palm borer)Larva and pupa Yes Yes Sarto and Aguilar (2005)
Pear blister canker viroid Yes Yes
Pectobacterium brasiliense (soft rot and blackleg of ornamentals and potato) Yes Yes
Pennisetum clandestinum (Kikuyu grass)Seed in contaminated crops Yes Yes
Pennisetum pedicellatum (deenanath grass) Yes
Peronosclerospora philippinensis (Philippine downy mildew of maize)Introduction of the disease is through the entry of infected vegetative material or through infected seeds Yes Murray (2009)
Phakopsora euvitis (grape rust fungus)Infected plants? Yes Weinert et al. (2003)
Phalaris aquatica (bulbous canarygrass) Yes Yes
Pheidole megacephala (big-headed ant) Yes
Philornis downsi Yes
Phleum pratense (timothy grass)Seed contaminant of seed lots; seed shed from hay Yes Yes
Phoma tracheiphila (mal secco)Propagating material, pruning debris, fallen leaves Yes Perrotta and Graniti (1988)
Phomopsis vexans (Phomopsis blight of eggplant)in seed, in transplants, in and on fruits Yes Yes Edgerton and Moreland (1921); Nollo (1929); Panwar et al. (1970); Vishunavat and Kumar (1993)
Phoracantha semipunctata (eucalyptus longhorned borer)Adults on cut flowers Yes
Phthorimaea absoluta (tomato leafminer)South America, Europe, Africa and Asia Yes Yes
Phthorimaea operculella (potato tuber moth) Yes
Phyllachora maydis (black spot of maize)Some survival in crop debris, dried leaves Yes Hock et al. (1995)
Physalis peruviana (Cape gooseberry) Yes Yes
Phytophthora alni species complex (alder Phytophthora)Spread by planting infected nursery material Yes Jung and Blaschke (2004); Schumacher et al. (2005); Jung et al. (2016)
Phytophthora austrocedriNumerous UK Plant Health interceptions annually Yes Yes Unpublished data: Animal and Plant Health Agency York and Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture Edinburgh
Phytophthora cinnamomi (Phytophthora dieback)Probably very common on cryptically infected plants Yes Yes Davison et al. (2006)
Phytophthora kernoviae Yes Yes EPPO (2013)
Phytophthora lateralis (Port-Orford-cedar root disease) Yes Yes Brasier et al. (2012); Green et al. (2013)
Phytophthora megasperma (root rot)Pots (not sterilized). Yes
Pileolaria terebinthiTeliospores on fallen leaves Yes Bharat (2005); Hamzeh-Zarghani and Bani-Hashemi (2002)
Pilosella aurantiaca (orange hawkweed)Seed contamination Yes
Pilosella caespitosa (yellow hawkweed)Contaminant of pastoral seeds Yes
Pineus pini (pine woolly aphid) Yes
Planococcus citri (citrus mealybug) Yes Yes
Plantago asiatica mosaic virusLiving plants or fresh or dried plant parts Yes Yes
Plantago coronopus (Buck's-horn plantain) Yes Yes
Plasmodiophora brassicae (club root)Infected plants could be moved long distance Yes
Platydemus manokwari (New guinea flatworm) Yes
Pluchea carolinensis (sourbush)Cut branches and live plants used medicinally Yes Yes Hodges and Bennett (2006)
Plum pox virus (sharka)Budwood or nursery stock. Yes
Plutella xylostella (diamondback moth)Eggs, larvae, pupae Yes Yes Shelton and Wyman (1992)
Podarcis sicula (Italian wall lizard)More recently, this is the other main vector of introduction into Europe Yes Hodgkins et al. (2012); Silva-Rocha et al. (2014)
Podosphaera spiraeae (Japanese spiraea powdery mildew) Yes
Polypogon monspeliensis (annual beard grass)As a contaminant in hay, straw, grass seed, etc. Yes Yes
Pomacea canaliculata (golden apple snail) Yes
Pomacea maculataEggs, hatchlings Yes Yes
Populus nigra (black poplar) Yes Yes
Pratylenchus penetrans (nematode, northern root lesion) Yes
Pratylenchus zeae (root lesion nematode) Yes
Prays citri (citrus flower moth) Yes
Pseudocercospora angolensis (leaf spot of Citrus spp.)Infected planting material Yes Yes Kuate (1998)
Pseudococcus viburni (obscure mealybug)Occasional, all stages, on cut flowers, whole plants Yes
Pseudomonas cichorii (bacterial blight of endive) Yes Yes
Pseudomonas syringae pv. oryzae (halo blight)Other cereals and rice straw. Yes
Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae (bacterial canker or blast (stone and pome fruits))Weeds Yes
Pseudomonas viridiflava (bacterial leaf blight of tomato) Yes
Puccinia asparagi (asparagus rust) Yes
Puccinia buxilatent or overlooked infections Yes Yes NAPPO (2006); Preece (2000)
Puccinia gladioli Yes Yes Wise et al. (2004)
Puccinia pittieriana (common rust of potato)teliospores Yes Yes EPPO (1988)
Pyrrhalta luteola (elm leaf beetle) Yes Yes
Radopholus similis (burrowing nematode) Yes
Ralstonia solanacearum (bacterial wilt of potato) Yes Yes
Raoiella indica (red palm mite)On palm handicrafts between islands in the Caribbean & on cut flower & host plant leaf arrangements Yes Yes
Rhadinaphelenchus cocophilus (red ring nematode) Yes
Rosa rugosa (rugosa rose) Yes Yes Fremstad (1997)
Rottboellia cochinchinensis (itch grass)As a traded seed contaminant Yes Millhollon and Burner (1993)
Rubus armeniacus (Himalayan blackberry)Root and cane cuttings can establish new plants Yes Soll (2004)
Rubus niveus (Mysore raspberry)Via horticultural trade Yes ISSG (2014)
Sagittaria latifolia (broadleaf arrowhead) Yes USDA-NRCS (2002)
Scolytus morawitzi (scolytid of Morawitz) Yes
Senecio jacobaea (common ragwort)Livestock feed Yes
Senecio madagascariensis (fireweed)Livestock feed Yes
Senecio vulgarisLivestock feed Yes
Senna occidentalis (coffee senna)Fodder Yes Yes
Setaria parviflora (knotroot foxtail)Seed contaminant Yes Seed Regulatory Testing Branch (2011)
Sida acuta (sida) Yes Yes Smith (2002)
Silene latifolia subsp. alba (white campion)As a seed contaminant Yes Yes Alberta Weed Monitoring Network (2014)
Sisymbrium irio Yes Yes
Solanum elaeagnifolium (silverleaf nightshade)Contaminated grain and stock fodder. Yes Yes
Solidago nemoralis (grey goldenrod)Hypothetical Yes Yes
Sorghum halepense (Johnson grass) Yes Yes
Spodoptera eridania (southern armyworm) Yes Yes Karsholt (1994)
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm) Yes Yes Seymour et al. (1985)
Spodoptera litura (taro caterpillar) Yes
Sporisorium pulverulentum (Sporisorium smut of wild Saccharum) Yes Yes
Stachytarpheta urticifolia (rattail) Yes Yes Kuo (2003)
Sternochetus mangiferae (mango seed weevil) Yes Yes
Stictococcus vayssierei (cassava brown root scale) Yes Yes Ngeve (2003a)
Strawberry necrotic shock virus (Strawberry necrotic shock virus)Systemic pathogen. Yes Yes
Striga asiatica (witch weed) Yes Yes
Sugarcane grassy shoot phytoplasma (grassy shoot of sugarcane) Yes Yes
sugarcane white leaf phytoplasma (white leaf of sugarcane) Yes Yes
Tapinoma melanocephalum (ghost ant)T. melanocephalum may have been transported to Texas on cut flowers Yes Yes Cook et al. (1994)
Tetropium gracilicorne (fine-horned spruce borer) Yes
Thaumastocoris peregrinus (bronze bug)All life stages Yes Yes Garcia et al. (2013); Nadel et al. (2010); Sopow and George (2012); Wilcken et al. (2010)
Thaumetopoea processionea (oak processionary moth) Yes Yes Evans (2007)
Theba pisana (white garden snail) Yes Godan (1983)
Thecaphora solani (potato smut)infected tubers/seed pieces Yes Yes Torres (2001); Zachmann and Baumann (1975)
Thekopsora areolata (cherry spruce rust)Cones, seeds, seedlings Yes Yes BPI (US National Fungus Collections) (2009); Richardson (1990); Roll Hansen (1965)
Tibouchina herbacea (cane tibouchina)With tree ferns transported between Hawaiian Islands Yes Frohlich and Lau (2007)
Tomato apical stunt viroid Yes Yes
Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (Tomato brown rugose fruit virus)Movement of infected plants is important way for local spread of the virus Yes Yes
Tomato spotted wilt orthotospovirus (tomato spotted wilt)Multiplying virions that can be acquired by Thrips larvae (vector) Yes Yes
Tribulus terrestris (puncture vine)Hay, straw Yes
Trichoconiella padwickii (stackburn disease)infected seeds, seedlings, leaves, glumes Yes Yes Groth (1992); Mathur et al. (1972); Ou (1985); Padwick (1950); Suryanarayan et al. (1963)
Trifolium angustifolium (narrow-leaf clover) Yes Yes
Trifolium hybridum (alsike clover) Yes Yes
Trirachys holosericeus (apple stem borer)All life stage, but mostly larva, pupa, and new adults Yes Yes Beeson (1941); Gupta and Tara (2013)
Uraba lugens (eucalypt leaf skeletonizer) Yes Yes
Urocystis agropyri (flag smut of wheat) Yes Yes Neergaard (1977); Smiley et al. (2005)
Urtica dioica (stinging nettle)occurs as a seed contaminant Yes
Veronicella cubensis (Cuban slug) Yes Cowie et al. (2008)
Vespula pensylvanica (western yellowjacket)Christmas trees Yes Yes
Vulpia bromoides (squirreltail fescue)As seed Yes
Wasmannia auropunctata (little fire ant) Yes Yes ISSG (2014)
Xanthium spinosum (bathurst burr) Yes Yes PIER (2013)
Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. begoniae (bacterial wilt of begonias) Yes
Xanthomonas citri (citrus canker)tourists Yes
Xanthomonas citri pv. punicae (bacterial blight of pomegranate) Yes
Xanthomonas euvesicatoria pv. alfalfae (bacterial leaf spot of lucerne)Stored hay or debris with seeds. Yes Yes
Xanthomonas euvesicatoria pv. euvesicatoria (bacterial spot of tomato and pepper) Yes Yes
Xanthomonas euvesicatoria pv. perforans (bacterial spot of tomato) Yes Yes
Xanthomonas hortorum pv. gardneri (bacterial spot of tomato and pepper) Yes Yes
Xanthomonas translucens pv. cerealis (bacterial leaf streak of grasses) Yes Yes
Xanthomonas translucens pv. translucens (bacterial leaf streak of barley) Yes Yes
Xanthomonas translucens pv. undulosa (bacterial leaf streak of wheat and barley) Yes Yes
Xanthomonas vasicola pv. vasculorum (bacterial leaf streak of corn) Yes Sivitis (2017)
Xanthomonas vesicatoria (bacterial spot of tomato and pepper) Yes Yes
Xylella fastidiosa (Pierce's disease of grapevines) Yes
Xylophilus ampelinus (bacterial blight of grapevine) Yes Yes
Xylosandrus mutilatus (camphor shoot beetle) Yes Rabaglia (2003)
Xylotrechus altaicus (Altay longhorn beetle) Yes
Xyris complanata (yellow-eyed grass)Trade in dried inflorescences may aid dispersal in Hawaii Yes Erickson and Puttock (2006)
Zachrysia provisoria (Cuban brown snail)Occasional, accidental, all stages Yes Yes Robinson and Fields (2004)
Zeuxine strateumatica (soldier’s orchid)Moving unintentionally with seeds of lawn grasses. Also possibly introduced with other cultivated plants Yes Yes
Ziziphus spina-christi (Christ's thorn jujube)Trade at local markets Yes Saied et al. (2008)
Zophopetes dysmephila (palm tree nightfighter) Yes Yes Claassens and Dickson (1986)


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Decision support systems for selecting the most appropriate risk management measures against a quarantine plant pest are usually included in PRA schemes. Phytosanitary measures against alien plant pests and diseases can be taken both in the exporting and in the importing countries. These measures largely vary according to the commodity and the related pests and cannot be described in details here. As usual, prevention is better than remediation, particularly for plant pests and diseases which, in contrast to many other invasive organisms, usually enter a new region accidentally and are often detected too late to be eradicated. Thus, every effort should be made to prevent the introduction and establishment of alien plant pests and diseases. Plants and parts of plants usually travel accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate. However, it must be said that, according to the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and the agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS agreement) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), countries may require phytosanitary measures only for quarantine pests and regulated non-quarantined pests. These measures must be based on scientific principles and cannot be maintained without sufficient scientific evidences. The technical justification for phytosanitary regulations is usually provided by a Pest Risk Analysis (PRA), following the IIPC standard ISPM 11 (FAO, 2004). PRAs comprise mainly a risk assessment part, which assesses the likelihood of an organism of being introduced, establishing and spreading in the PRA region, and the potential impacts, and if needed, a risk management part which states which measures to take to manage the risk. PRAs are thus an essential component of an effective plant health programme, despite important weaknesses (Baker et al., 2009). One of the weaknesses of the classical species-initiated PRA approach is that many species are of minor importance or even unknown in their area of origin, becoming serious pests only when invading new areas. Therefore, international or regional phytosanitary measures are being developed for entire pathways, such as logs or wood packaging, which need to be free from bark and fumigated or heat-treated, in the hope that measures taken to prevent the introduction of well-known pests will also be efficient against other pests. Another example is the implementation of more stringent regulations on imported bonsais from China, following the accidental introduction of several tree pests such as the citrus longhorned beetle Anoplophora chinensis (see USDA APHIS, 2004, for the USA).

The most stringent phytosanitary measure is prohibition, which is usually the last resort when no other measure can prevent the introduction of serious pests. This is for example, the case for the international trade of potato tubers, particularly from South America, which is usually prohibited because of the large amount of pests of potatoes that may be introduced through this pathway (see OEPP/EPPO, 2004, for imports to Europe). In many cases, however, to encourage free trade, the tendency is to move away from one strict quarantine measure and to replace it by a combination of measures in a systems approach, as recommended by ISPM 14 (FAO, 2002). A systems approach requires that the place of production and exportation should develop and implement approved integrated pest management practices, such as pre-export treatments, preventive measures to ensure cleanliness of growing media associated with plants, sanitary practices for waste management, effective diagnostic procedures, inspection at growing sites and clean packing practices. When necessary, propagative material should be obtained from certified stock sources. A good example is the standard (ISPM 26) for systems approaches in the management of fruit flies that has recently been agreed at international level (FAO, 2006b).

Importing countries can lower the likelihood of establishment and subsequent spread of alien plan pests by improving inspection and developing pre-certification programmes and appropriate quarantine procedures, such as treatments, testing, quarantine periods, etc. In most countries, border inspections are still neither very efficient or effective. For example, in the USA it is estimated that inspectors inspect no more than 2% of cargo arriving at maritime ports, airports and border crossing (Work et al., 2005). Nevertheless, border inspections are very useful for their dissuasive effect.

When an alien plant pest or disease is detected in a new region, various options may be considered. If the pest is detected at a very early stage of establishment, an eradication programme can be implemented. The success of eradication programmes largely depends on the target species, the environment, the level of establishment and the eradication method utilized. ISPM 9 (FAO, 1998) provides general guidelines for pest eradication programmes. If an outbreak cannot be eradicated, containment measures can be taken, which aims to restrict the pest to a defined locations through the use of operational procedures, physical barriers and facility design. Although many national and regional plant protection organisations have developed directives describing measures to be taken following outbreaks of some well known quarantine pests, in general there is no generic decision support scheme to help guide eradication or containment actions for all quarantine pest. However, such a decision support scheme is currently being developed for Europe by an EU research project, PRATIQUE (Baker et al., 2009).


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Baker R; Kenis M; Bremmer J; Schrader G; Mumford J; Battisti A; Petter F; Bacher S; Baranchikov Y; Barro PDe; Hulme PE; Karadjova O; Oude Lansink A; Pruvost O; Pyšek P; Roques A; Sun J-H, 2009. .

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FAO, 2002. The use of integrated measures in a systems approach for pest risk management. International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures, 14. Rome: FAO.

FAO, 2004. Pest risk analysis for quarantine pests including analysis of environmental risks. International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures, 11 (Rev. 1). Rome: FAO.

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Links to Websites

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International Plant Protection Convention


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North America: North American Plant Protection Organisation (NAPPO),

South America: Comité de Sanidad Vegetal del Cono Sur (COSAVE),

France: EPPO European and Mediterranean Organization, OEPP/EPPO, 1 rue Le Nôtre, 75016 Paris, France,

UK: CABI, Nosworthy Way, Wallingford,

Canada: Canadian Food Inspection Agency,

USA: USDA-APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service), US Department of Agriculture 1400, Independence Ave., SW Washington, DC 20250, Washington, DC, USA,

Australia: Biosecurity Australia,

New Zealand: Biosecurity New Zealand,


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12/5/2008 Original text by:

Marc Kenis, CABI Europe - Switzerland, Switzerland, 1 Chemin des Grillons, CH-2800 Delémont, Switzerland