On the intersection of alien floras and political history


Thank you for this link to The Conversation. I read the article you featured , but then read on and on, fascinated by the academic rigour, journalistic flair’.

What about human colonisation of the planet in general, it is certainly not just European colonisation that is the issue. What was the European flora/fauna like before people arrived in Europe and where did those people come from?

Yes @lavateraguy, I read that one too and was interested. That’s something you hear about quite often in New Zealand. I also get the daily emails, often very interesting. Varied topics, something to catch the eye of many people I would guess.

Most of the planet was initially colonised by hunter-gatherers, and I don’t expect that they moved many plants around.

As you know, a large chunk of the British flora is made up of archaeophytes, though Britain is likely to be a special case as the natural postglacial development of the flora was interrupted by the opening of the Dover Straits. But the spread of agriculture across Europe from the south east would have carried in a variety of plant species, especially weeds of cereal crops.

The Polynesians spread some species around. A prominent one is Ipomaea batata (sweet potato); which WikiPedia thinks originated on the Caribbean coast and was spread to South America where it was picked up by the Polynesians. (Ipomaea batata is to my understanding the strongest evidence of pre-Columbian contact between Polynesia and the Americas.)

Other crop species were dispersed between different regions of pre-Columbian America. Maize, for example, originated in Mexico, and was spread as far as New England and Chile.

In the Old World bananas and okra were spread so far it’s not clear where they came from.

I have the impression that there was a considerable introduced of plants into Japan from China.

Many fruits with seeds that are small enough to get swallowed often wash up on coastlines and germinate. Tomatoes often germinate on coastlines from dumped loo waste from shipping and coastal outflows.

This is the most relevant Forum I can find for this paper.

Bedtime reading for a week at least, it covers in detail, the impacts of invasive species in UK. I didn’t know about the massive impact of Quercus ilex on calcareous grassland and where Rubus spectabilis is the only ground-level species in a broadleaved woodland.

In my own area, SW, Azolla filiculoides has had a massive (one of the recording categories) impact on Ranunculus baudotii.

Thanks for this. Re Q ilex, I didn’t know it was such an issue since there is precious little calcareous grasslands in my usual haunts, but I read something about it recently possibly in British Wildlife or maybe in a reference within a European spot in the global community? That bit of info stuck anyway.
I suspect the freshwater environment might have been slower to be recognised (terrible passive, there!) as threatened by INNS when compared to the obvious ones and giants on the banks.

Some of the species on the list can be more or less eradicated if there is the will to do it over a wide enough area whereas with others it is more or less impossible unless a biological control agent can be found.