Original Research

Invasive, naturalized and casual alien plants in southern Africa: a sum­mary based on the Southern African Plant Invaders Atlas (SAPIA)

L. Henderson
Bothalia | Vol 37, No 2 | a322 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/abc.v37i2.322 | © 2007 L. Henderson | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 August 2007 | Published: 18 August 2007

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L. Henderson, Agricultural Research Council: Plant Protection Research Institute, South Africa

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The primary objective of this publication is to provide an overview of the species identity, invasion status, geographical extent, and abundance of alien plants in South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho, based on field records from 1979 to the end of 2000. The dataset is all the species records for the study area in the Southern African Plant Invaders Atlas (SAPIA) database during this time period. A total of 548 naturalized and casual alien plant species were catalogued and invasion was recorded almost throughout the study area. Most invasion, in terms of both species numbers and total species abundance, was recorded along the southern, southwestern and eastern coastal belts and in the adjacent interior. This area includes the whole of the Fynbos and Forest Biomes, and the moister eastern parts of the Grassland and Savanna Biomes. This study reinforces previous studies that the Fynbos Biome is the most extensively invaded vegetation type in South Africa but it also shows that parts of Savanna and Grassland are as heavily invaded as parts of the Fynbos. The Fabaceae is prominent in all biomes and Acacia with 17 listed species, accounts for a very large proportion of all invasion. Acacia mearmii was by far the most prominent invasive species in the study area, followed by A. saligna, Lantana camara, A. cyclops, Opuntia ficus-indica. Solarium mauritianum, Populus alba/xcanescens, Melia azedarach, A. dealbata and species of Prosopis.


biomes; casual alien plants; invasive plants; Lesotho; naturalized plants; roadside surveys; SAPIA mapping project; South Africa; Swaziland


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