Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Botanical gardens and zoos (pathway cause)



Botanical gardens and zoos (pathway cause)


  • Last modified
  • 12 June 2017
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Pathway Cause
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Botanical gardens and zoos (pathway cause)
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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Botanical gardens and zoos (pathway cause)

Species Transported by Cause

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SpeciesNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Acacia angustissima (prairie acacia) Yes Csurhes and Naive (2009)
Acridotheres fuscus (jungle myna) Yes
Acridotheres tristis (common myna) Yes
Adiantum raddianum (delta maidenhair fern)deliberate planting Yes Jones (1987)
Adonidia merrillii (Christmas palm)Popular ornamental palm Yes Yes Lim (2012)
Aeginetia indica (forest ghost flower)A collection at Botanical Garden in Belgium Yes Meise Botanic Garden (2019)
Agave americana (century plant)Botanical gardens Yes Yes USDA-NRCS (2016)
Agave fourcroydes (henequen)Ornamental Yes Yes Fern (2014)
Agave sisalana (sisal hemp) Yes Gentry (1982)
Allamanda blanchetii (purple allamanda)Cultivated as an ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2019)
Alocasia cucullata (Chinese taro)Cultivated as an ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2019)
Aloe vera (true aloe)Ornamental Yes Yes PROTA (2017)
Aloysia citrodora (lemon verbena)Cultivated as an ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2019)
Amaranthus dubius (spleen amaranth) Yes Grubben (2004)
Ameiurus melas (black bullhead) Yes Yes
Amynthas agrestis (crazy worm)Raised to feed platypuses Yes Gates (1954)
Angiopteris evecta (king fern)Often cultivated in botanical gardens Yes Yes Christenhusz and Toivonen (2008)
Anredera vesicaria (Texas madeira vine)A record of the species in the Meise Botanic Garden Yes Yes Meise Botanic Garden (2019)
Aronia x prunifolia Yes Yes
Asparagus asparagoides (bridal creeper) Yes Yes
Asparagus densiflorus (asparagus fern) Yes Yes
Asparagus falcatus (sicklethorn)At various botanical gardens worldwide Yes Yes Susini (1952); Lasser et al. (1974); Forbes et al. (2010); Kew Royal Botanic Gardens (2020)
Austrocylindropuntia cylindrica (cane cactus) Yes
Austrocylindropuntia subulata (Eve’s needle cactus) Yes
Baccharis pilularis (coyote brush) Yes
Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) Yes Pessier et al. (1999)
Begonia nelumbiifolia (lilypad begonia) Yes Dave's Garden (2016)
Bixa orellana (annatto) Yes Yes Morton (1960)
Blighia sapida (akee apple)Cultivated in botanic gardens Yes Yes Rashford (2001)
Bontia daphnoides (white alling)Cultivated at various botanical gardens Yes Yes Leiva (1980); NMNH (2017)
Bos bison (American bison)Common, deliberate Yes Yes
Bougainvillea spectabilis (great bougainvillea)Popular ornamental often planted in botanical gardens Yes Yes Salam et al. (2017)
Brachyponera chinensis (Asian needle ant)Accidentally brought in via soil/pots/plants etc. for landscaping Yes Nelder et al. (2006)
Breynia disticha (snowbush) Yes Yes Forbes et al. (2010); NMNH (2017)
Bubalus bubalis (Asian water buffalo)E.g. introduced in 1904 for a zoo in Pretoria, S Africa. Probably in many zoos around the world Yes Cockrill (1977)
Buddleja davidii (butterfly bush) Yes Yes
Caladium bicolor (heart of Jesus) Yes Yes Deng (2012)
Callosciurus erythraeus (Pallas's squirrel) Yes Ono (2001); Udagawa (1954)
Callosciurus finlaysonii (Finlayson's squirrel) Yes
Carpobrotus edulis (hottentot fig) Yes Yes
Cassytha filiformis (love-vine)Potential movement as curiosity Yes Yes Wilson (1847)
Castilla elastica (Mexican rubber tree)Introductions mainly by transporting seedlings. Less than 200 seedlings were introduced to Tanzania Yes Dawson et al. (2008); Greenway (1934); Pittier (1910); Wright (1912)
Cavanillesia platanifolia (cuipo)In permanent collections of Botanic Gardens. Yes Yes EcuRed (2019); Missouri Botanical Garden (2019)
Cecropia peltata (trumpet tree) Yes Binggelli (1999)
Ceratopteris thalictroides (watersprite)Introduced to the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew from Brazil Yes Yes Reis de Brito et al. (2015)
Cestrum nocturnum (night jessamine)Species is a popular ornamental and has been introduced beyond its native range for this purpose Yes Yes
Chamaedorea elegans (parlour palm)Ornamental plant Yes Yes Hodel (1992)
Chrysopogon zizanioides (vetiver)Occasionally planted as an ornamental Yes Yes Gnansounou et al. (2017)
Clavibacter insidiosus (bacterial lucerne wilt) Yes
Clerodendrum indicum (Turk's turban)Species cultivated in gardens Yes
Clerodendrum speciosissimum (Java glory bower)Species introduced beyond native range to Europe, Africa and Newtropics for use as ornamental Yes Yes PIER (2014)
Cnidoscolus aconitifolius (chaya)Present in Botanical Gardens Yes Yes Lasser et al. (1974); Riverón-Giró et al. (2015)
Coix lacryma-jobi (Job's-tears)Cultivated in botanic gardens as a curiosity for its peculiar bead-like “fruits” Yes Yes Lamarck (1792); Sweet (1827)
Coriandrum sativum (coriander) Yes Yes
Cornus sericea (redosier dogwood) Yes EPPO (2009); Gardening Australia (2009)
Cortaderia jubata (purple pampas grass) Yes Yes
Corynocarpus laevigatus (karaka)Probably found in many botanical gardens throughout the world Yes
Cosmos caudatus (wild cosmos)Attractive garden plant Yes Yes
Cosmos sulphureus (sulphur cosmos)Mexican seed is known to have been introduced to, and cultivated in, botanical gardens in Spain and the Philippines Yes Yes Cavanilles (1791); Merrill (1904); Merrill (1923); Burkill (1930)
Costus spicatus (spiked spiralflag ginger)Grown for its attractive foliage and bracts Yes Yes Gonçalves et al. (2005)
Cupressus arizonica (Arizona cypress) Yes Laurent (1911); Anon (1921); BCGI (2017)
Curtobacterium flaccumfaciens pv. flaccumfaciens (bacterial wilt of dry beans) Yes Yes
Cyathea cooperi (australian tree fern)Spores are carried by wind. The fern is cultivated Yes Yes Palmer (2003)
Cygnus olor (mute swan) Yes
Cyperus papyrus (papyrus) Yes
Cytisus scoparius (Scotch broom)Widely introduced as ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2016)
Datura metel (Hindu datura)Species has a long history of pantropical cultivation, both locally and commercially Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2014)
Dendrocalamus strictus (male bamboo)Ornamental Yes Yes Guadua-Bamboo (2015)
Desmodium cajanifolium (tropical tick trefoil)Introduced to a botanical garden in Martinique Yes Yes Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (2020)
Dichanthium aristatum (angelton bluestem)At the Botanical Gardens in Georgetown, Guyana Yes Yes Missouri Botanical Garden (2020)
Dieffenbachia seguine (dumb cane)Found in at least 33 botanical garden collections Yes Yes BGCI (2017)
Dimorphotheca sinuata (Cape marigold)Popular ornamental plant due to attractive flowers Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2020)
Dombeya wallichii (pink ball)In various botanical gardens Yes Yes Billiet (1999); Skema (2010); New York Botanical Garden (2017)
Dreyfusia nordmannianae (silver fir adelges) Yes Yes Kollár et al. (2009)
East Asian Passiflora virus Yes
Entada gigas (sea-bean) Yes Arthur (2012)
Epidendrum radicans (crucifix orchid) Yes Yes POWO (2020)
Erigeron karvinskianus (Karwinsky’s fleabane) Yes Yes Bushana (2010)
Erwinia amylovora (fireblight)Fire blight has been found in Australia in a botanical garden. No plants outside the garden were fou Yes Bonn and Zwet (2000)
Etlingera elatior (torch ginger)Widely cultivated as ornamental Yes Yes Ibrahim and Setyowati (1999)
Euonymus fortunei (wintercreeper)Planted at Royal Botanical Garden, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square Yes Longwood Gardens (2012); Rothfels (2004)
Euphorbia lactea (mottled spurge)Often planted to exemplify xerophytic adaptation of plants Yes Yes
Euphorbia tirucalli (Indian-tree spurge)Widely planted for ornamental purposes Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2016)
Fallopia japonica (Japanese knotweed)Original cause Yes
Fallopia sachalinensis (giant knotweed)Most introductions began in botanical gardens Yes Bailey (1989)
Ferrisia virgata (striped mealybug)Accidental introduction on plants Yes
Ficus lyrata (fiddle-leaf fig)Species is known to have been intentionally cultivated in botanical gardens, parks, public areas, an Yes Yes Flora of Nicaragua (2014); Hutchinson and Rendle (1916); Madulid (1995); Starr et al. (2003)
Ficus pumila (creeping fig) Yes Yes Britton (1918); Floridata (2014); Hooker (1882)
Funtumia elastica (West African rubber tree)Distributed by the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew Yes Yes Howard and Powell (1963)
Galinsoga quadriradiata (shaggy soldier)Planted in botanical gardens Yes Yes Kabuce and Priede (2010)
Gaultheria shallon (salal) Yes Discover Life (2015)
Gypsophila paniculata (baby’s breath) Yes Yes Darwent (1975)
Hedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily) Yes Yes Schilling (1982)
Hedychium coronarium (white butterfly ginger lily) Yes
Hedychium flavescens (wild ginger) Yes
Hedychium gardnerianum (kahili ginger) Yes Yes
Hemidactylus frenatus (common house gecko)Accidental introduction Yes McAllister et al. (1990); Saenz and Klawinski (1996)
Heracleum mantegazzianum (giant hogweed) Yes Yes
Heracleum sosnowskyi (Sosnowskyi's hogweed)Cultivated in many Botanical gardens Yes Kabuce (2006)
Holcus lanatus (common velvet grass) Yes
Holmskioldia sanguinea (Chinese hat plant)Intentionally spread as an ornamental and botanical curiosity Yes
Hydrocharis morsus-ranae Yes Yes CWS (2003)
Impatiens glandulifera (Himalayan balsam) Yes Beerling and Perrins (1993)
Imperata cylindrica (cogon grass) Yes Yes
Iris domestica (blackberry lily) Yes Yes Lasser et al. (1974)
Isometrus maculatus (lesser brown scorpion)Potential for accidental release to new areas Yes Yes
Jasminum multiflorum (star jasmine)cultivated in botanical gardens Yes Yes Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (2016); Missouri Botanical Garden (2016)
Jatropha gossypiifolia (bellyache bush) Yes
Jatropha integerrima (peregrina)Listed as occurring in various botanical gardens Yes Yes New York Botanical Garden (2020)
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana (flaming katy)Popular ornamental plant Yes Yes Kalanchoe Growers (2016)
Kigelia africana (sausage tree)Cultivated in botanical gardens Yes Pinkas (1998)
Lampropeltis californiae (California kingsnake)Accidentally transported on ornamental trees. Escape from zoos Yes Yes Verzelen et al. (2017)
Lawsonia inermis (Egyptian privet) Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2017)
Lemna perpusilla (duckweed) Yes Maki and Galatowitsch (2004)
Leptocybe invasa (blue gum chalcid) Yes Yes
Leptospermum scoparium (manuka) Yes Yes
Ligustrum japonicum (Japanese privet)Botanical garden collections Yes Yes Jalili et al. (2010)
Limax maximus (leopard slug)Accidental transport with vegetation and soil Yes Yes
Limnocharis flava (yellow bur-head) Yes
Livistona chinensis (Chinese fan palm)Planted in botanical gardens Yes Yes Meyer et al. (2008)
Lonicera maackii (Amur honeysuckle)Introduction to Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa, Canada from Germany and to New York Botanical Garden i Yes Luken and Thieret (1997)
Ludwigia grandiflora (water primrose) Yes Dandelot et al. (2005)
Ludwigia peploides (water primrose) Yes Dandelot et al. (2005)
Lumbricus rubellus Yes
Lumbricus terrestris Yes Yes
Lupinus polyphyllus (garden lupin)Accidental Yes Yes NOBANIS (2015)
Lygodium flexuosum (maidenhair creeper)At the permanent collection of a Botanic Garden in India Yes Yes Sharma and Goel (1994)
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) Yes USDA-NRCS (2007)
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (pink hibiscus mealybug) Yes
Macrothelypteris torresiana (swordfern)Ornamental Yes Yes Diggs and Lipscomb (2014)
Mainsia rubi Yes
Melanoides tuberculata (red-rimmed melania) Yes
Meloidogyne incognita (root-knot nematode)Infrequent Yes
Mephitis mephitis (striped skunk)Can be found in zoos and escapes could occur, although they would likely be swiftly identifiedWilson (2011)
Merremia cissoides (roadside woodrose)cultivated in botanic gardens in India and Mauritus Yes Catalogue des Herbiers de Genève (2016)
Merremia umbellata (hogvine)Cultivated in the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Yes Yes Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (2016)
Miconia calvescens (miconia)Botanical gardens in Tahiti, Hawaii and Australia Yes Csurhes (1998); Medeiros et al. (1997); Meyer (1996)
Mimosa pudica (sensitive plant) Yes
Mirabilis jalapa (four o'clock flower)In the permanent collection of the Botanical Garden of Lisboa, Portugal and the medicinal plants collection of the National Botanic Garden of Cuba. Yes Yes Rankin Rodríguez (1992)
Mononychellus tanajoa (cassava green mite)Accidental introduction, rare pathway Yes
Moringa oleifera (horse radish tree) Yes Yes Adu-Dapaah et al. (2017); NMNH (2017)
Muntiacus reevesi (Reeves' muntjac)Originally for wildlife collections in England and France Yes Chapman (2008)
Muntingia calabura (Jamaica cherry) Yes Yes Morton (1987)
Murraya paniculata (orange jessamine)In permanent collections of various botanical gardens Yes Yes Páez (1991); Cabrera et al. (2016)
Myriophyllum pinnatum (cutleaf watermilfoil) Yes Maldonado González (2009-2010)
Nandina domestica (Nandina)Present at many botanical gardens Yes GBIF (2013)
Nasua nasua (ring-tailed coati) Yes
Neolecanium cornuparvum (magnolia scale) Yes Yes
Nerium oleander (oleander)Collections in various botanical gardens Yes Yes Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (2020)
Nesticella mogera (cave-dwelling spider) Yes Kielhorn (2009)
Neyraudia reynaudiana (burma reed) Yes Gordon (1998); Guala (1990); Majtkowski and Majtkowsk (2000)
Noronhia emarginata (Madagascar olive)Deliberate Yes Useful Tropical Plants (2019)
Oeceoclades maculata (monk orchid) Yes Yes Stern (1988)
Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata (wild olive) Yes
Orbea variegata (carrion-flower) Yes Hamilton et al. (2013)
Orobanche ramosa (branched broomrape) Yes Yes
Ovis aries musimon (European mouflon) Yes Apollonio et al. (2010a); Uloth (1972); Weller (2001)
Oxyura jamaicensis (ruddy duck) Yes Yes
Pachira aquatica (pachira nut)Cultivated in Botanical Gardens Yes Yes Missouri Botanical Garden (2017)
Pachira insignis (wild chestnut)Cultivated in Botanic Gardens Yes Yes Dominica Botanic Gardens (2018)
Pandanus dubius (bakong)At botanical gardens in India Yes Yes Botanical Survey of India (2020)
Pandanus utilis (common screw pine)Deliberate Yes PROTA (2020)
Parmentiera aculeata (cucumber tree)Cultivated in botanical gardens Yes Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (2015)
Passion fruit woodiness virus (passionfruit woodiness disease)Accidental with exchange of live Passiflora plant material. International movement is now restricted and requires permits Yes Yes Baker et al. (2014)
Pelargonium peltatum (ivy geranium)Species exported from South Africa in 1700s for ornamental cultivation. Yes Yes Miller (1996); Walt JJAvan der (1977)
Pelargonium zonale (horseshoe pelargonium)Species introduced for use as an ornamental and grown in botanical gardens in Europe Yes Yes Miller (1996); Walt JJAvan der (1977)
Pennisetum polystachion (mission grass) Yes
Petrea volubilis (queen's wreath)In cultivation at various botanical gardens worldwide Yes Yes Bigazzi (1989); PROTA (2019); Missouri Botanical Garden (2019)
Phaius tankervilleae (nun’s-hood orchid) Yes Yes
Phyllostachys flexuosa (drooping timber bamboo)Planted as an ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2017)
Phyllostachys reticulata (giant timber bamboo)Planted as ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2017)
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper) Yes Yes Hartemink (2010)
Pittosporum undulatum (Australian cheesewood) Yes Goodland and Healey (1996)
Planococcus citri (citrus mealybug)Accidental introduction on imported plants Yes
Plumbago auriculata (cape leadwort) Yes Yes PROTA (2017)
Polyalthia suberosa (corky debbar tree)J. Ackerman, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico, personal communication, 2017 Yes Yes
Procyon lotor (raccoon) Yes Lutz (1995)
Pseudococcus viburni (obscure mealybug)On imported plants Yes
Pseudomonas cichorii (bacterial blight of endive) Yes Yes
Psittacula krameri (rose-ringed parakeet) Yes Strubbe and Matthysen (2009a)
Pteris tripartita (giant brake) Yes Yes Santa Cruz Cabrera et al. (2016)
Pteris vittata (Chinese ladder brake fern)Present in collections of various botanical gardens Yes Yes Ballesteros et al. (2012); New York Botanical Garden (2019)
Pterocarpus indicus (red sandalwood)Ornamental and shade tree Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2017)
Ptychosperma elegans (solitaire palm)Some of its early introductions can be associated with botanical gardens. At present it is found at palm collections in various botanical gardens Yes Yes Dammer (1896); Meyer et al. (2008); Palmpedia (2017)
Pyrrhalta luteola (elm leaf beetle)ELB spreads where elm trees were planted in urban areas, incl. gardens, car parks, streets, etc. Yes Yes
Python bivittatus (Burmese python)Origins in multiple native-range countries, present in many zoos worldwide Yes Yes Bellosa et al. (2007)
Quelea quelea (weaver bird)Some quelea birds have been transported to zoos in the past but the advent of restrictions related t Yes Yes
Ralstonia solanacearum (bacterial wilt of potato) Yes Yes
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac) Yes Yes
Russelia equisetiformis (firecracker plant)Reported in permanent collections at botanical gardens in Australia and Egypt. Yes Forbes et al. (2010); Mourad et al. (2015)
Salvia splendens (scarlet sage) Yes Yes DAISIE (2014)
Salvinia auriculata (giant salvinia) Yes Yes
Salvinia molesta (kariba weed) Yes Yes McFarland et al. (2004)
Sanchezia speciosa (shrubby whitevein)Cultivated as an ornamental Yes Yes Meyer and Lavergne (2004)
Senecio glastifolius (holly-leaved senecio)Probably found in many botanic gardens in warm regions Yes
Senna alata (candle bush) Yes Rankin Rodríguez (1992)
Sesbania bispinosa (dunchi fibre)In living collection at National Botanical Garden at Cuba Yes Jardín Botánico Nacional (1993-1994)
Solenopsis invicta (red imported fire ant)Pot plants or planting material - accidental Yes
Solidago canadensis (Canadian goldenrod) Yes Yes
Solidago gigantea (giant goldenrod) Yes Yes
Sorghum halepense (Johnson grass) Yes
Spartina densifloraIts introduction could have been the result of the mislabelling of a species for a botanical garden Yes Bortolus (2006)
Spodoptera litura (taro caterpillar) Yes
Stachytarpheta urticifolia (rattail) Yes Yes Kuo (2003)
Sterculia apetala (Panama tree)Ethnobotanical collections and the National Botanic Garden of Cuba Yes Martínez Betancourt (2011)
Stictocardia tiliifolia (spottedheart)At a Botanic Garden in India Yes Aswani and Sabu (2012)
Symphyotrichum novi-belgii (New York aster) Yes Yes
Tamias sibiricus (Siberian chipmunk)One population escaped from a zoo in The Netherands Yes Dijkstra and Dekker (2008)
Tecoma capensis (Cape honeysuckle)Grown in botanical gardens Yes Yes Orwa et al. (2009)
Terminalia catappa (Singapore almond)Ornamental and shade tree Yes Yes Orwa et al. (2009)
Terminalia muelleri (Australian almond)Most of the specimens in herbariums are from botanical gardens Yes Yes Missouri Botanical Garden (2020)
Threskiornis aethiopicus (sacred ibis)Origin: East Africa. Introduction: many countries Yes Clergeau and Yésou (2006); Clergeau et al. (2005); Ottens (2006)
Trapa natans (waterchestnut) Yes Yes O'Neill (2006)
Turbina corymbosa (Christmas vine) Yes Yes Botanic Garden Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz (2016); Dave's Garden (2016)
Varanus niloticus (Nile monitor)This species has been imported for zoos, but some locally captured animals have also given to zoos. Yes Yes
Verbena rigida (stiff verbena)Ornamental plant in at least 53 botanical gardens Yes Yes BGCI (2014)
Vitex rotundifolia (beach vitex)Possibly still available for sale by some botanical gardens, but the extent is unknown Yes Yes USDA-APHIS (2013)
Xylophilus ampelinus (bacterial blight of grapevine) Yes Yes
Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet)Planted as an ornamental Yes Yes BGCI (2016)
Yucca gigantea (spineless yucca)Popular ornamental in botanical gardens Yes Yes López-Pujol and Guillot Ortiz (2014)
Zeuxine strateumatica (soldier’s orchid)In the catalogue of the National Botanical Garden in Cuba Yes Yes Anonymous (1994)
Zinnia peruviana (Peruvian zinnia) Yes Yes