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
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
Alocasia cucullata (Chinese taro)Cultivated as an ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2019
Aloe vera (true aloe)Ornamental Yes Yes PROTA, 2017
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
Aronia x prunifolia Yes Yes
Asparagus asparagoides (bridal creeper) Yes Yes
Asparagus densiflorus (asparagus fern) Yes Yes
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
Bixa orellana (annatto) Yes Yes Morton, 1960
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
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
Cecropia peltata (trumpet tree) Yes Csurhes and Naive, 2009
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
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
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 Csurhes and Naive, 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; Csurhes and Naive, 2009
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
Dieffenbachia seguine (dumb cane)Found in at least 33 botanical garden collections Yes Yes BGCI, 2017
Dombeya wallichii (pink ball)In various botanical gardens Yes Yes Billiet, 1999; Skema, 2010; Csurhes and Naive, 2009
Dreyfusia nordmannianae (silver fir adelges) Yes Yes Kollár et al., 2009
East Asian Passiflora virus Yes
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 Csurhes and Naive, 2009
Galinsoga quadriradiata (shaggy soldier)Planted in botanical gardens Yes Yes Kabuce and Priede, 2010
Gaultheria shallon (salal) Yes Csurhes and Naive, 2009
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 Csurhes and Naive, 2009; Csurhes and Naive, 2009
Jatropha gossypiifolia (bellyache bush) Yes
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana (flaming katy)Popular ornamental plant Yes Yes Kalanchoe Growers, 2016
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
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
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) Yes Csurhes and Naive, 2009
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 Csurhes and Naive, 2009
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
Myriophyllum pinnatum (cutleaf watermilfoil) Yes Csurhes and Naive, 2009
Nandina domestica (Nandina)Present at many botanical gardens Yes GBIF, 2013
Nasua nasua (ring-tailed coati) Yes
Neolecanium cornuparvum (magnolia scale) Yes Yes
Nesticella mogera (cave-dwelling spider) Yes Kielhorn, 2009
Neyraudia reynaudiana (burma reed) Yes Gordon, 1998; Guala, 1990; Majtkowski and Majtkowsk, 2000
Oeceoclades maculata (monk orchid) Yes Yes Stern, 1988
Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata (wild olive) Yes
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
Pelargonium peltatum (ivy geranium)Species exported from South Africa in 1700s for ornamental cultivation. Yes Yes Miller, 1996; Csurhes and Naive, 2009
Pelargonium zonale (horseshoe pelargonium)Species introduced for use as an ornamental and grown in botanical gardens in Europe Yes Yes Miller, 1996; Csurhes and Naive, 2009
Pennisetum polystachion (mission grass) Yes
Petrea volubilis (queen's wreath)In cultivation at various botanical gardens worldwide Yes Yes Bigazzi, 1989; PROTA, 2019; Csurhes and Naive, 2009
Phaius tankervilleae (nun’s-hood orchid) Yes Yes
Phyllostachys flexuosa (drooping timber bamboo)Planted as an 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
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
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
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
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
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
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 (canker of grapevine) Yes Yes
Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet)Planted as an ornamental Yes Yes BGCI, 2016
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