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.
Regulations regarding Invasive species differ world-wide. Please click on the country that you are interested in obtaining information on. This page is a work-in-progress, so if your country is not listed here and you can provide us with information, please contact [email protected] 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.
General information on European Union regulation on Invasive Alien species (IAS) Europe
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 (01/2020) with 49 species 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.
UNITED KINGDOM and IRELAND
At the time of writing, these areas are both part of the European Union (EU) and affected by EU legislation, though each country interprets and applies the legislation in slightly different ways. The UK is due to leave the EU during 2020 and its legislation may eventually deviate from that of the rest of the EU, though large differences are unlikely.
- 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 a list 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 list is currently undated, but the version viewed (in 01/20) was last amended in Nov 2018. Note that all of these countries have their own separate legislation for invasive plant issues, though the lists overlap in many cases.
- The RHS also has general advice on invasive plant issues
- 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 BePlantWise website carries further information on this, though at the time of writing it is very much out of date on the legislative aspects. It is due to be updated by mid-2020 with a widening of the target to both pond owners and general gardeners.
- 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, the Scottish Natural Heritage,
- Another source of information is at Ni-direct.
- Ireland’s legislation is covered in more detail by their Invasive Species Ireland website, which notes the collaboration between Ireland and Northern Ireland on these issues:
- The National Biodiversity Data Centre is a major portal for information on Ireland’s invasive species
- 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.