INVASIVE SPECIES

Invasive species are problematic worldwide. However, all species do not display invasive tendencies in all parts of the world. The goal of the information represented here is to provide data that is as up to date as possible for various regions around the globe. These representations will serve as guidelines for similar environments, as not all countries regulate plants.

The goal is to provide enough available information that the resources can serve as a tool to make educated assumptions about how plants may respond in various climates. Growing, selling and distributing plants comes with a responsibility to ensure, to the best of one’s ability, that the distribution is voluntarily done in a manner to protect the regional environment they are destined for.

Plant growth is dictated by climate, nutrients available and growing conditions. Care should always be taken to choose plants appropriate to a location. Know the law and never release plants into natural waterbodies unless they are indigenous and free from 'hitch-hiking' weeds.

Making Wise Choices to Protect the Environment from Invasive Species

Regulations regarding Invasive species differ world-wide. Please click on the country that you are interested in obtaining information on. See also our news section at the start of the listing. This page is a work-in-progress, so if your country is not listed here and you can provide us with information, please contact webmaster@iwgs.org. We welcome your contribution.

There is also a Global Invasive Species Database with search function ability for different countries – just enter the county without a species name. Note that the species listed are those considered invasive by the database and do not necessarily coincide with those legislated against.

 

News

December 2023

(EU / UK) GIANT GUNNERA
Research into the DNA of giant Gunnera growing in the British Isles has confirmed that all the specimens examined were either Gunnera tinctoria (originally from Chile), or Gunnera × cryptica (various hybrids between G. tinctoria and G. manicata). It appears that G. manicata (originally from Brazil) introduced into the British Isles in the late 1800s no longer survives, and most of the plants sold under this name are in fact the hybrid G. × cryptica.

This hybrid has not been found to be as invasive and prolific as G. tinctoria (which is on the EU list of plants of concern, and banned from sale in the UK). However, as G. × cryptica is a hybrid with a banned plant, it has been reported that the UK authorities will be adding the hybrid to the list of plants banned from new introductions and sales. It is not sure if or when the hybrid will be added to the EU list.

https://journals.rbge.org.uk/rbgesib/article/view/1998/1917

Myriophyllum 'Red Stem'. Photo credit: J.Allison

Myriophyllum 'Red Stem'. Photo credit: J.Allison

2022

(EU) A new name for RED-STEMMED PARROT FEATHER Myriophyllum rubricaule

The green parrot feather Myriophyllum aquaticum is listed as an invasive and/or banned from sale in a number or regions. A similar plant of smaller growth habit, and with more intense red stems, has been grown in cultivation since the 1970s or before. This red-stemmed plant has sometimes been sold incorrectly as M. brasiliense (a former synonym of M. aquaticum), though research (published in 2010) confirmed that the red stemmed plants were an unknown species, separate from M. aquaticum, and given temporary titles of ‘red 1’, ‘red 2’. For this reason the red-stemmed plant is not technically covered by legislation controlling M. aquaticum.

Recently published research now formalizes the name of this red-stemmed plant as Myriophyllum rubricaule Valk. & Duist. sp. nov.

https://europeanjournaloftaxonomy.eu/index.php/ejt/article/view/1847

The invasiveness or otherwise of the red-stemmed hybrid has yet to be confirmed, though many Myriophyllums are considered suspect if found growing outside their native areas. Species of invasive nature outside of their native regions include: M. aquaticum in North America and Europe; M. heterophyllum in Europe; and M. spicatum in North America.

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AUSTRALASIA - AUSTRALIA

Legislation varies between each state/territory. The main government hub is here [https://www.dcceew.gov.au/environment/invasive-species ]

Weeds Australia Site [ https://weeds.org.au/ ]

Australian plant hardiness zone

New Zealand

AUSTRALASIA - NEW ZEALAND

Biosecurity New Zealand site: Freshwater pests and diseases [https://www.mpi.govt.nz/biosecurity/freshwater-pests/ ]

Brazil

BRAZIL

National Invasive Alien Species Database [ https://bd.institutohorus.org.br/?sys_language=en ] (in English/Portuguese/Spanish)

China

CHINA

There is recent (2022) legislation ‘Measures for the management of invasive alien species’ [https://english.www.gov.cn/statecouncil/ministries/202212/15/content_WS639a7c41c6d0a757729e478c.html ] (in English)

The journal article ‘Naturalization of alien plants in China’ [https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10531-011-0044-x ] by Jiang et. al. (2011), has a supplementary list of over 800 introduced species

Europe

EUROPE

General information on European Union regulation on Invasive Alien species (IAS) 

The majority of countries in Europe are part of the European Union (EU) and follow EU laws on invasive species. Although in theory this legislation should be applied evenly across the EU, each of the member states tends to have their own approaches, and there may be a lag before the legislation is fully implemented through local regulations.

    • A major driver of restrictions to sale of plants and animals is the EU’s Species of Union Concern, a list which is regularly reviewed and is generally added to each year, currently (08/2022) with 84species listed.
    • General information on European Union regulation on Invasive Alien species (IAS) can be found on the IUCN site, and the legislation itself on the European Commission site.
    • The Invasive Alien Species Europe App, facilitates identification of the major IAS in Europe and allows reported sightings to be logged via your smartphone. Search for the app in your smartphone app store.
    • The EPPO-Q-bank database aids identification of a wide range of invasive plants in Europe including aquatic plants. It can be searched in English, French or Dutch.
    • These links provide Information pertaining to the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal)

http://www.lifeinvasaqua.com/  (available in Spanish, Portuguese, and English)

https://www.noudiari.es/2021/02/cuidado-invasoras-acuaticas-una-guia-para-conocer-100-especies-exoticas/    In Spanish/Portuguese (also includes details of a poster about invasive molluscs)

India

INDIA

The Convention on Biological Diversity has an undated summary document on India’s actions on invasive species, including a short listing of problem species [https://www.cbd.int/invasive/doc/legislation/India.pdf ]

The India Biodiversity Portal [ https://www.indiabiodiversity.org/ ] has a searchable species database with information and mapping

Ireland

IRELAND

PACIFIC ISLANDS

There is an information hub on Invasive species management in the Pacific [https://www.sprep.org/invasive-species-management-in-the-pacific ]

South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA

General information hub [link https://invasives.org.za/ ]. Nearly 380 plants currently have legislative controls

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THE NETHERLANDS

Control methods for four aquatic weeds in the Netherlands and UK (Cabomba, Hydrocotyle, Ludwigia, Myriophyllum) are accessible from the drop down ‘Control’ menu on the Q-bank site This site also has a very useful section helping identification of often confused similar species [ https://q-bankplants.eu/page/Similar_species ] e.g. Egeria/Elodea/Hydrilla and Myriophyllum spp.

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UNITED KINGDOM 

Plant Hardiness Ratings

The UK left the EU in 2020 and its legislation may eventually deviate from that of the rest of the EU. Each country within the UK (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland) tailors and applies the legislation in slightly different ways

  • The list of aquatic plants currently banned from sale across the EU, and certain animals/invertebrates banned from sale in the UK, are regularly updated on the site of the UK based Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA)
  • The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) also produces general advice [https://www.rhs.org.uk/prevention-protection/invasive-non-native-plants ] and a list (currently out of date) of those plants (aquatic and general garden plants) with controls in England and Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland (but not for Scotland).
  • The UK government’s handling of invasive plant issues is handled by the GB Non Native Species Secretariat (NNSS) which reports on all invasive issues around plants and animals, and carries environmental impact assessments for highlighted species and information on legislation (in particular that specific to England and Wales).
  • The NNSS launched the public awareness campaign BePlantWise aimed at pond owners. The BePlantWise messages are “Know What You Grow”, “Stop the Spread” and “Compost with Care”. The NNSS also has a public awareness campaign to stop the spread of invasive plants and animals by water resource users such as fishermen and boaters – Check Clean Dry 
  • Scotland and Northern Ireland’s legislation differs slightly from the rest of the UK though largely mirrors that of England and Wales. Further details can be found on the sites of the Scottish Government,  and NatureScot [https://www.nature.scot/professional-advice/land-and-sea-management/managing-freshwater/freshwater-non-native-species ]
  • For Northern Ireland further information is at Ni-direct and Invasive Species NI [http://invasivespeciesni.co.uk/ ].
  • Plant Alert is a citizen science project in the UK for gardeners to report those garden plants growing in their gardens which are becoming a pest. This could help flag a warning on those plants before they become an invasive problem in the wild.
USA

UNITED STATES