Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Jasminum sambac
(Arabian jasmine)


Jasminum sambac (Arabian jasmine)


  • Last modified
  • 26 June 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Jasminum sambac
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Arabian jasmine
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Jasminum sambac is a small shrub native to Bhutan and India and widely cultivated for its very fragrant and showy flowers. It is an environmental and garden weed and has a climbing growth habit that can smother...

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Jasminum sambac (Arabian jasmine); flowering habit. Kolkata, India. April 2012.
CaptionJasminum sambac (Arabian jasmine); flowering habit. Kolkata, India. April 2012.
Copyright©Biswarup Ganguly/via wikipedia - CC BY 3.0
Jasminum sambac (Arabian jasmine); flowering habit. Kolkata, India. April 2012.
HabitJasminum sambac (Arabian jasmine); flowering habit. Kolkata, India. April 2012.©Biswarup Ganguly/via wikipedia - CC BY 3.0


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Jasminum sambac (L.) Aiton

Preferred Common Name

  • Arabian jasmine

Other Scientific Names

  • Jasminum bicorollatum Noronha
  • Jasminum blancoi Hassk.
  • Jasminum heyneanum Wall. ex G.Don
  • Jasminum odoratum Noronha
  • Jasminum quinqueflorum B.Heyne ex G.Don
  • Jasminum undulatum (L.) Willd.
  • Mogorium gimea Zuccagni
  • Mogorium goaense Zuccagni
  • Mogorium sambac (L.) Lam.
  • Mogorium undulatum (L.) Lam.
  • Nyctanthes goa Steud.
  • Nyctanthes sambac L.
  • Nyctanthes undulata L.

International Common Names

  • English: Indian jasmine; jasmine; sambac jasmine
  • Spanish: diamela; jasmin de Arabia; jazmín de Arabia
  • French: jasmin d'Arabie
  • Chinese: mo li hua

Local Common Names

  • Cambodia: molih
  • Cuba: jasmín double; jazmín; jazmín diamela
  • Dominican Republic: filaria; jasmín de papel; jazmín
  • Germany: Jasmin, Nachtsblühender
  • Haiti: jasmin double; jasmine d'Arabie
  • India: moghra; motia
  • Indonesia: melati; menur
  • Lesser Antilles: jasmin double
  • Malaysia: melor
  • Netherlands: melatti
  • Philippines: kampupot; manul; sampaguita
  • Thailand: khao taek; tiamuun
  • USA/Hawaii: pikake
  • Vietnam: hoa nhafi

EPPO code

  • IASSA (Jasminum sambac)

Summary of Invasiveness

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Jasminum sambac is a small shrub native to Bhutan and India and widely cultivated for its very fragrant and showy flowers. It is an environmental and garden weed and has a climbing growth habit that can smother other plants. Currently, this species is listed as invasive in Cuba and Hawaii and Florida in the USA.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Oleales
  •                         Family: Oleaceae
  •                             Genus: Jasminum
  •                                 Species: Jasminum sambac

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Oleaceae is a family of flowering plants comprising 24 genera and 615 species of shrubs and trees. It is distributed more or less worldwide, but is especially diverse in East Asia. The subfamily Jasmineae is monotypic and comprises just the genus Jasminum (including species formerly designated in the genus Menodora) with about 225 to 450 species. The majority of Jasminum species occur in tropical to warm temperate climates in the Old World, but some species also occur in tropical America (Stevens, 2012).


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The following description is from the Flora of China (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2016):

J. sambac is an erect or scandent shrub, to 3 m in height. Branchlets terete or slightly compressed, sometimes hollow, sparsely pubescent. Leaves opposite, simple; petiole 2-6 mm, articulate, pubescent; leaf blade orbicular to elliptic or obovate, 4-12.5 x 2-7.5 cm, papery, glabrous except for tufted hairs at vein axils abaxially, both ends blunt, sometimes base subcordate; primary veins 4-6 on each side of midrib. Cymes terminal, (1 or) 3(or 5)-flowered; bracts subulate, 4-8 mm. Flowers very fragrant. Pedicel 0.3-2 cm. Calyx glabrous or sparsely pubescent; lobes 8-9, linear, 5-7 mm. Corolla white; tube 0.7-1.5 cm; lobes oblong to suborbicular, 5-9 mm broad. Berry purple-black, globose, 1 cm in diameter.


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J. sambac is native to a small region in the eastern Himalayas including territories in Bhutan and India (PROTA, 2016; USDA-ARS, 2016). It has been introduced across China, South East Asia, islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, tropical America and the Caribbean (Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; Govaerts, 2016; PIER, 2016; PROTA, 2016; USDA-ARS, 2016).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


BangladeshPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2016
BhutanPresentNativeGovaerts, 2016
CambodiaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2016
ChinaPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016Cultivated
-FujianPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-GuangdongPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-GuangxiPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-GuizhouPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-HunanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-YunnanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
Christmas Island (Indian Ocean)PresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2016
IndiaPresentNativeGovaerts, 2016
-Arunachal PradeshPresentNativeGovaerts, 2016
-SikkimPresentNativeGovaerts, 2016
-West BengalPresentNativeGovaerts, 2016
IndonesiaPresentIntroducedPresent based on regional distribution
-JavaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2016
MalaysiaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2016
MaldivesPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2016
MyanmarPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2016
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedPIER, 2016Cultivated
SingaporePresentIntroducedChong et al., 2009Cultivated
Sri LankaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2016


MadagascarPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2016
MauritiusPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2016

North America

MexicoPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2016
USAPresentIntroduced Invasive Present based on regional distribution
-FloridaPresentIntroduced Invasive FLEPPC, 2009
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive Wagner et al., 1999

Central America and Caribbean

BahamasPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
BarbadosWidespreadIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
British Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012Guana, Tortola
CubaPresentIntroduced Invasive Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012
DominicaWidespreadIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
El SalvadorPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2016
GuadeloupeWidespreadIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
GuatemalaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2016
HaitiPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
HondurasPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2016
JamaicaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
MartiniqueWidespreadIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
NicaraguaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2016
PanamaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2016
Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesWidespreadIntroducedBroome et al., 2007

South America

BoliviaPresentIntroducedJørgensen et al., 2014
EcuadorPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedCultivated in the Galapagos Islands
-Galapagos IslandsPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedGuézou et al., 2010


American SamoaPresentIntroducedPIER, 2016Cultivated
Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedMcCormack, 2013Cultivated
French PolynesiaPresentIntroducedFlorence et al., 2013Cultivated
GuamPresentIntroducedPIER, 2016Cultivated
KiribatiPresentIntroducedPIER, 2016Cultivated
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroducedWhistler and Steele, 1999Cultivated
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentIntroducedWagner et al., 2012Cultivated
NauruPresentIntroducedThaman et al., 1994
New CaledoniaPresentIntroducedMacKee, 1994Cultivated
NiuePresentIntroducedSpace et al., 2004Cultivated
PalauPresentIntroducedPIER, 2016Cultivated
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroducedPIER, 2016Cultivated

History of Introduction and Spread

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J. sambac has been cultivated for a long time in the Old World. It was introduced into Malaysia and Java, Indonesia around the third century. Since then it has been widely cultivated throughout the Malaysian region (PROSEA, 2016). In the Caribbean it first appeared in herbarium collections made in 1886 in Puerto Rico and 1920 in Haiti (Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, 2016).

Risk of Introduction

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The risk of introduction of J. sambac is very high. This species has been intentionally planted as an ornamental in many tropical and subtropical regions. In addition, many cultivars of the species are still sold in the nursery and landscape trade.


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Within its native distribution range, J. sambac occurs in dipterocarp forests (PROTA, 2016). Once naturalized, J. sambac can be found growing in disturbed sites, secondary forests, coastal areas, abandoned gardens and orchards near villages (Wagner et al., 1999; PIER, 2016).

Habitat List

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Terrestrial – ManagedManaged forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Natural
Coastal areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal areas Present, no further details Natural
Coastal areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural

Biology and Ecology

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The chromosome number reported for J. sambac has been variously recorded as 2n = 24, 2n = 26 and 2n = 39 (Wang et al., 1992).

Physiology and Phenology

In China, it has been recorded flowering from May to August and fruiting from July to September (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2016). In Hawaii, this species shows a peak of flowers from April to August, with very few flowers produced during the remaining months. These flower­ing periods may vary, depending on the location and the weather conditions of the particular year (Leonhardt and Teves, 2002). In Puerto Rico, it has been collected in flower in September (Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2005).

Environmental Requirements

J. sambac grows from sea level to elevations of 800 m on rich loam, clay loam or sandy soils with irrigation, and pH ranging from 6.0 to 7.5. Good drainage is essential because waterlogging kills almost all Jasminum species (Leonhardt and Teves, 2002).


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Af - Tropical rainforest climate Tolerated > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Tolerated Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 1.7
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 15 32

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Aleuroclava jasmini Herbivore Whole plant
Contarinia maculipennis Herbivore Inflorescence
Dialeurodes kirkaldyi Herbivore Whole plant
Frankliniella occidentalis Herbivore Inflorescence
Polyphagotarsonemus latus Herbivore Inflorescence
Pseudococcus longispinus Herbivore Whole plant
Psilogramma menephron Herbivore Leaves
Tetranychus cinnabarinus Herbivore Whole plant
Thrips hawaiiensis Herbivore Inflorescence

Notes on Natural Enemies

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The following pathogens and herbivores have been recorded as having a negative impact on populations of J. sambac in cultivation and/or in the wild (Leonhardt and Teves, 2002):

  • Hawaiian flower thrips (Thrips hawaiiensis): causes loss of buds and flowers.
  • Western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis): causes loss of buds and flowers.
  • Blossom midge (Contarinia maculipennis): deforms or aborts flower buds.
  • Broad mite (Polyphagotarsonemus latus): deforms or aborts flower buds.
  • Carmine spider mite (Tetranychus cinnabarinus): reduces plant vigor.
  • Jasmine whitefly (Aleuroclava jasmini), kirkaldy white­fly (Dialeurodes kirkaldyi): suck plant sap; excrement becomes a medium for the growth of sooty mould fungi.
  • Long-tailed mealybug (Pseudococcus longispinus): sucks plant sap; deforms developing tissues.
  • Armored scales (several species): suck plant sap, re­duce plant vigor.
  • Psilogramma menephron: caterpil­lar feeds on foliage.
  • Powdery mildew: powdery to mealy coating on leaves and buds; affected parts may be stunted.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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In the wild, J. sambac spreads by seed. Propagation for commercial purposes is principally by cuttings (Leonhardt and Teves, 2002; PIER, 2016). This species also spreads by layering and suckering from the roots.

Impact Summary

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Cultural/amenity Positive and negative
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative

Environmental Impact

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J. sambac is an environmental and garden weed with the potential to smother native vegetation due to its climbing growth habit (IFAS, 2015). A recent study demonstrated that this species also shows allelopathic effects (Poonpaiboonpipat et al., 2011). In Florida, USA, this species is listed as a Category II exotic invasive and its cultivation is discouraged (FLEPPC, 2009).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Long lived
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Allelopathic
  • Competition - smothering
  • Rooting
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately


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Economic Value

J. sambac is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant for its fragrant and showy flowers (USDA-ARS, 2016). The flowers are widely used for their scent and their cooling effect, either directly or in perfumes. In China and Java, flowers are used as food additives to flavour jasmine tea. In India, J. sambac is commercially cultivated for its essential oil (PROTA, 2016; USDA-ARS, 2016).

Social Benefit

J. sambac is used in traditional Asian medicine. It can be used to treat fever, bronchitis, asthma, skin complaints and wounds (PROTA, 2016). The root is used in Malaysia to treat venereal diseases, and as a tincture it can have strong sedative and anaesthetic properties (PROTA, 2016).

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Seedlings and small plants can be pulled up by hand.


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Acevedo-Rodríguez P, Strong MT, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. In: Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, 98 . Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution.1192 pp.

Acevedo-Rodríguez, P., 2005. Contributions from the United States National Herbarium, Washington, USA: Department of Systematic Biology - Botany, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution 51, 483 pp.

Broome R, Sabir K, Carrington S, 2007. Plants of the Eastern Caribbean. Online database. Barbados: University of the West Indies.

Chong KY, Tan HTW, Corlett RT, 2009. A checklist of the total vascular plant flora of Singapore: native, naturalized and cultivated species. Singapore: Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore.273 pp.

Dave’s Garden, 2016. Dave’s Garden.

FLEPPC, 2009. Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Lists. USA: Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council.

Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2016. Flora of China. St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria.

Florence J, Chevillotte H, Ollier C, Meyer J-Y, 2013. Base de données botaniques Nadeaud de l'Herbier de la Polynésie Française (PAP). (Botanical database of the Nadeaud Herbarium of French Polynesia).

Govaerts R, 2016. World Checklist of Oleaceae. Richmond, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Guézou, A., Trueman, M., Buddenhagen, C. E., Chamorro, S., Mireya Guerrero, A., Pozo, P., Atkinson, R., 2010. An extensive alien plant inventory from the inhabited areas of Galapagos. PLoS ONE, (No.April), e10276. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010276

IFAS, 2015. Jasminum sambac: Assessment of non-native plants in Florida’s natural areas. USA: Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida.

Jørgensen PM, Nee MH, Beck SG, 2014. Catálogo de las plantas vasculares de Bolivia. Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden, 127, 1-1744.

Leonhardt KW, Teves GI, 2002. Pikake. Ornamentals and flowers. Hawaii, USA: Cooperative Extension Service, Colleague of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii.

MacKee HS, 1994. Catalogue of introduced and cultivated plants in New Caledonia. (Catalogue des plantes introduites et cultivées en Nouvelle-Calédonie). Paris, France: Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle.164 pp.

McCormack G, 2013. Cook Islands Biodiversity Database, Version 2007.2. Rarotonga, Cook Islands: Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust.

Oviedo Prieto R, Herrera Oliver P, Caluff MG, et al., 2012. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2011. (Lista nacional de especies de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2011). In: Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba , 6(Special Issue 1) . 22-96.

PIER, 2016. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii.

Poonpaiboonpipat, T., Teerarak, M., Phuwiwat, W., Charoenying, P., Laosinwattana, C., 2011. Allelopathic effects of Arabian jasmine (Jasminum sambac Ait.) and preliminary test for estimation of its natural herbicide activity. International Journal of Agricultural Technology, 7(4), 1075-1087.

PROSEA, 2016. Plant Resources of South-East Asia.

PROTA, 2016. PROTA4U web database. Wageningen, Netherlands: Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, 2016. Smithsonian Museum of Natural History Botany Collections. Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

Space JC, Waterhouse BM, Newfield M, Bull C, 2004. Report to the Government of Niue and the United Nations Development Programme: Invasive plant species on Niue following Cyclone Heta [UNDP NIU/98/G31 - Niue Enabling Activity.]. 80 pp.

Stevens PF, 2012. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website.

Thaman RR, Fosberg FR, Manner HI, Hassall DC, 1994. The flora of Nauru. In: Atoll Research Bulletin , 392. Washington, Smithsonian Institution.1-223.

USDA-ARS, 2016. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory.

Wagner WL, Herbst DR, Tornabene MW, Weitzman A, Lorence DH, 2012. Flora of Micronesia. National Tropical Botanical Garden and the Smithsonian Institution.

Wagner, W. L., Herbst, D. R., Sohmer, S. H., 1999. Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai'i, Vols. 1 and 2, (Edn 2) . Honolulu, USA: University of Hawai'i and Bishop Museum Press.xviii + 1919 pp.

Wang X, Lai MZ, Su ZW, 1992. Studies on karyotype of jasmine (Jasminum sambac (L. Ait). Journal of Fujian Agricultural College, 21, 63-66.

Whistler WA, Steele O, 1999. Botanical survey of the United States of America Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA) Islands. Prepared for Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education and the U. S. Army Environmental Center. 111 pp.

Links to Websites

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GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gateway source for updated system data added to species habitat list.


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18/08/16 Original text by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

Distribution Maps

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