Assessment of the Potential of Introduction, Establishment and Further Spread of Invasive Alien Plant Species of European Union Concern in Lithuania

Zigmantas Gudžinskas 1 , Egidijus Žalneravičius 1 , and Lukas Petrulaitis 1
  • 1 Nature Research Centre, Institute of Botany, , LT-08406, Vilnius, Lithuania


The list of invasive alien species of European Union concern currently includes 23 plant species. The aim of this study was to assess the potential and importance of introduction pathways for invasive alien plant species in Lithuania, to estimate probability of their establishment and further spread in the country. Analysis of all available information revealed that three species (Asclepias syriaca, Heracleum sosnowskyi and Impatiens glandulifera) currently occur in Lithuania and the latter two are widespread invasive species in the country. The remaining 20 plant species have not been registered in the wild in Lithuania so far. Four of these, Gunnera tinctoria, Lysichiton americanus, Myriophyllum aquaticum and Pennisetum setaceum, are occasionally cultivated in gardens or other outdoor areas, and six species, e.g. Cabomba caroliniana, Eichhornia crassipes, Lagarosiphon major, are cultivated in aquaria or other indoor spaces. Naturalization of seven species is unlikely in the country, whereas naturalization of 13 species (Lysichiton americanus, Myriophyllum aquaticum, Pennisetum setaceum, etc.) is plausible. Five of the analysed and still not recorded species are recognized as potentially invasive in Lithuania; the invasion of five species is plausible and that of 10 species is unlikely. The most important pathway of introduction of the analysed species is ornamental gardening. Three species that have not been recorded in Lithuania, but occur in the neighbouring regions of Europe (Elodea nuttallii, Heracleum mantegazzianum, Heracleum persicum) can enter the country by natural means. Importance of permanent studies and surveys on alien plants aiming to ensure early detection and eradication of invasive species is discussed.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Alberternst B., Nawrath S., 2002: Lysichiton americanus Hultén and St. John new to Continental Europe. Is there a chance for control in the early phase of naturalisation? – Neobiota, 1: 91–99.

  • Bornette G., Puijalon S., 2011: Response of aquatic plants to abiotic factors: a review. – Aquatic Sciences, 73: 1–14.

  • Calçada E.A., Closset-Kopp D., Gallet-Moron E., Lenoir J., Rêve M., Hermy M., Decocq G., 2013: Streams are efficient corridors for plant species in forest metacommunities. – Journal of Applied Ecology, 50: 1152–1160.

  • Caño L., Campos J.A., García-Margo D., Herrera M., 2014: Invasiveness and impact of the non-native shrub Baccharis halimifolia in sea rush marshes: fine-scale stress heterogeneity matters. – Biological Invasions, 16: 2063–2077.

  • Castri F. di, Hansen A.J., Debussche M., 1990: Biological Invasions in Europe and the Mediterranean Basin. – Dordrecht.

  • CBD, 2014: Pathways of introduction of invasive species, their prioritization and management. – Convention on Biological Diversity. Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice.

  • Crall A.W., Newman G.J., Jarnevich C.S., Stohlgren T.J., Waller D.M., Graham J., 2010: Improving and integrating data on invasive species collected by citizen scientists. – Biological Invasions, 12(10): 3419–3428.

  • Dubovik D.V., Lebedko V.N., Parfenov V.I., Savchuk S.S., Skuratovich A.N., 2017: Rastenijaagressory. Invazionnye vidy na territorii Belarusi. – Minsk.

  • EPPO, 2009: EPPO data sheet on Invasive Alien Plants. Heracleum mantegazzianum, Heracleum sosnowskyi and Heracleum persicum. – EPPO Bulletin, 39: 489–499.

  • Fremstad E., Elven R., 2006: The large hogweed Heracleum species in Norway. – Trondheim.

  • Gallo T., Waitt D., 2011: Creating a successful citizen science model to detect and report invasive species. – BioScience, 61(6): 459–465.

  • Gioria M., Osborne B., 2009: The impact of Gunnera tinctoria (Molina) Mirbel invasions on soil seed bank communities. – Journal of Plant Ecology, 2(3): 153–167.

  • Gnanavel I., 2013: Parthenium hysterophorus L.: a major threat to natural and agro ecosystems in India. – Science International, 1(5): 124–131.

  • Gubareva I.J., 2017: Rare and protected plant species of the flora of National Park “Kurshskaya Kosa”. – Kaliningrad.

  • Gudžinskas Z., 1998: Conspectus of alien plant species of Lithuania. 7. Apiaceae, Apocynaceae, Asclepiadaceae, Caprifoliaceae, Dipsacaceae, Oleaceae, Sambucaceae, Viburnaceae, and Valerianaceae. – Botanica Lithuanica, 4(3): 249–265.

  • Gudžinskas Z., Sinkevičienė Z., 1995: Distribution, biology and naturalization of Impatiens glandulifera Royle (Balsaminaceae) in Lithuania. – Botanica Lithuanica, 1: 21–33.

  • Gudžinskas Z., Žalneravičius E., 2017: Invaziniai augalai. – In: Balčiauskas L., Butkus R., Dagys M., Gudžinskas Z., Šidagytė E., Vaitonis G., Virbickas T., Žalneravičius E., Invazinės rūšys Lietuvoje: 27–44. – Vilnius.

  • Hulme P.E., 2009: Trade, transport and trouble: managing invasive species pathways in an era of globalization. – Journal of Applied Ecology, 46: 10–18.

  • Hussner A., 2012: Alien aquatic plant species in European countries. – Weed Research, 52: 297– 306.

  • Iamonico D., Pino S., 2015: Taxonomic revision of the genus Alternanthera (Amaranthaceae) in Italy. – Plant Biosystems, 150(2): 333–342.

  • Jahodová Š., Trybush S., Pyšek P., Wade M., Karp A., 2007: Invasive species of Heracleum in Europe: an insight into genetic relationships and invasion history. – Diversity and Distributions, 13(1): 99–114.

  • Jardine S.L., Sanchirico J.N., 2018: Estimating the cost of invasive species control. – Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 87: 242–257.

  • Jasprica N., Lasić A., Hafner D., Bratoš Cetinić A., 2017: European invasion in progress: Myriophyllum heterophyllum Michx. (Haloragaceae) in Croatia. – Natura Croatica, 26(1): 99–103.

  • Jeschke J.M., Bacher S., Blackburn T.M., Dick J.T.A., Essl F., Evans T., Gaertner M., Hulme P.E., Kühn I., Mrugała A., Pergl J., Pyšek P., Rabitsch W., Ricciardi A., Richardson D. M., Sendek A., Vilà M., Winter M., Kumschick S., 2014: Defining the impact of non-native species. – Conservation Biology, 28: 1188–1194.

  • Klingenstein F., 2007: Invasive Alien Species Fact Sheet – Heracleum mantegazzianum. – In: NOBANIS. Online Database of the North European and Baltic Network on Invasive Alien Species.

  • Kumschick S., Richardson D.M., 2013: Speciesbased risk assessments for biological invasions: advances and challenges. – Diversity and Distributions, 19: 1095–1105.

  • Lafontaine R.M., Beudels-Jamar R.C., Delsinne T., Robert H., 2013: Risk analysis of the Curly Waterweed Lagarosiphon major (Ridley) Moss. – Brussels.

  • Lambdon P.W., Pyšek P., Basnou C., Hejda M., Arianoutsou M., Essl F., Jarošík V., Pergl J., Winter M., Anastasiu P., Andriopoulos P., Bazos I., Brundu G., Celesti-Grapow L., Chassot P., Delipetrou P., Josefsson M., Kark S., Klotz S., Kokkoris Y., Kühn I., Marchante H., Perglová I., Pino J., Vilà M., Zikos A., Roy D., Hulme P.E., 2008: Alien flora of Europe: species diversity, temporal trends, geographical patterns and research needs. – Preslia, 80: 101–149.

  • Mack R.N., Simberloff D., Lonsdale W.M., Evans H., Clout M., Bazzaz F.A., 2000: biotic invasions: causes, epidemiology, global consequences, and control. – Ecological Applications, 10(3): 689–710.

  • Matthews J., Beringen R., Lamers L.P.M., O B., Pot R., vander Velde G., van Valkenburg J.L.C.H., Verbrugge L.N.H., Leuven R.S.E.W., 2013: Risk analysis of the nonnative Fanwort (Cabomba caroliniana) in the Netherlands. – Radboud.

  • Mehta S.V., Haight R.G., Homans F.R., Polasky S., Venette R.C., 2007: Optimal detection and control strategies for invasive species management. – Ecological Economics, 61: 237–245.

  • Meyerson L.A., Mooney H.A., 2007: Invasive alien species in an era of globalization. – Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 5(4): 199–208.

  • Mitich L.W., 2000: Intriguing world of weeds. Kudzu Pueraria lobata (Willd.) Ohwi. – Weed Technology, 14: 231–235.

  • Nehring S., Kolthoff D., 2011: The invasive water primrose Ludwigia grandiflora (Michaux) Greuter & Burdet (Spermatophyta: Onagraceae) in Germany: First record and ecological risk assessment. – Aquatic Invasions, 6(1): 83–89.

  • Nielsen C., Hartvig P., Kollmann J., 2008: Predicting the distribution of the invasive alien Heracleum mantegazzianum at two different spatial scales. – Diversity and Distributions, 14(2): 307–317.

  • Nuñez A.M., Chiuffo M.C., Torres A., Paul T., Dimarco R.D., Raal P., Policelli N., Moyano J., Garcıa R.A., van Wilgen B.W., Pauchard A., Richardson D.M., 2017: Ecology and management of invasive Pinaceae around the world: progress and challenges. – Biological Invasions, 19(11): 3099–3120.

  • Olson L.J., Roy S., 2008: Controlling a biological invasion: a non-classical dynamic economic model. – Economical Theory, 36(3): 453–469.

  • Perrings C., Dehnen-Schmutz K., Touza J., Williamson M., 2005: How to manage biological invasions under globalization. – Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 20(5): 212–215.

  • Poindexter D.B., 2010: Persicaria perfoliata (Polygonaceae) reaches North Carolina. – Phytoneuron, 2010-30: 1–9.

  • Prakasa R.J., Satish K.V., 2016: Persicaria perfoliata (L.) H. Gross (Polygonaceae): a species new to Eastern Ghats of India. – Tropical Plant Research, 3(2): 249–252.

  • Preston C.D., Croft J.M., 1997: Aquatic plants in Britain and Ireland. – Oxford.

  • Pyšek P., Jarošík V., Pergl J., Moravcová L., Chytrý M., Kühn I., 2014: Temperate trees and shrubs as global invaders: the relationship between invasiveness and native distribution depends on biological traits. – Biological Invasions, 16(3): 577–589.

  • Pyšek P., Lambdon P.W., Arianoutsou M., Kühn I., Pino J., Winter M., 2009: Alien vascular plants of Europe. – In: Handbook of Alien Species in Europe: 43–61. – Dordrecht.

  • Rahlao S.J., Milton S.J., Esler K.J., Wilgen B., Barnard P., 2009: Effects of invasion of fire-free arid shrublands by a fire-promoting invasive alien grass (Pennisetum setaceum) in South Africa. – Austral Ecology, 34(8): 920–928.

  • Rakauskas V., Stakėnas S., Virbickas T., Bukelskis E., 2016: Non-indigenous fish in the northern branch of the central European invasion corridor. – Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 26(3): 491–508.

  • Ricciardi A., Hoopes M.F., Marchetti M.P., Lockwood J.L., 2013: Progress towards understanding the ecological impacts of non-native species. – Ecological Monographs, 83: 263–282.

  • Richardson D.M., Rejmánek M., 2011: Trees and shrubs as invasive alien species – a global review. – Diversity and Distributions, 17: 788–809.

  • Rijal D.P., Alm T., Nilsen L., Alsos I.G., 2017: Giant invasive Heracleum persicum: Friend or foe of plant diversity? – Ecology and Evolution, 7(13): 4936–4950.

  • Rinaldo A., Gatto M., Rodriguez-Iturbe I., 2018: River networks as ecological corridors: A coherent ecohydrological perspective. – Advances in Water Resources, 112: 27–58.

  • Roy H.E., Adriaens T., Aldridge D.C., Bacher S., Bishop J.D.D., Blackburn T.M., Branquart E., Brodie J., Carboneras C., Cook E.J., Copp G.H., Dean H.J., Eilenberg J., Essl F., Gallardo B., Garcia M., García-Berthou E., Genovesi P., Hulme P.E., Kenis M., Kerckhof F., Kettunen M., Minchin D., Nentwig W., Nieto A., Pergl J., Pescott O., Peyton J., Preda C., Rabitsch W., Roques A., Rorke S., Scalera R., Schindler S., Schönrogge K., Sewell J., Solarz W., Stewart A., Tricarico E., Vanderhoeven S., Van der Velde G., Vilà M., Wood C.A., Zenetos A., 2015: Invasive Alien Species. Prioritising prevention efforts through horizon scanning ENV.B.2/ETU/2014/0016. – European Commission, Brussels.

  • Ruaux B., Greulich S., Haury J., Berton J.P., 2009: Sexual reproduction of two alien invasive Ludwigia (Onagraceae) on the middle Loire River, France. – Aquatic Botany, 90(2): 143–148.

  • Rutkowski L., Kamiński D., Nienartowicz A., Filbrandt- Czaja A., Adamska E., Deptuła M., 2015: New localities and habitat preferences of common milkweed Asclepias syriaca L. in Toruń (Central Poland). – Ecological Questions, 22: 75–86.

  • Sárkány E.S., Lehoczky É., Tamás J., Nagy P., 2008: Spreading, ecology and damages caused by the common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca L.) in Hungary. – Cereal Research Communications, 36: 1571–1574.

  • Sarver M., Treher A., Wilson L., Naczi R., Kuehn F.B., 2008: Mistaken Identity? Invasive Plants and their Native Look-alikes. – Dover.

  • Shen J., Shen M., Wang X., Lu Y., 2005: Effect of environmental factors on shoot emergence and vegetative growth of alligatorweed (Alternanthera philoxeroides). – Weed Sciences, 53(4): 471–478.

  • Simpson A., Jarnevich C., Madsen J., Westbrooks R., Fournier C., Mehrhoff L., Browne M., Graham J., Sellers E., 2009: Invasive species information networks: collaboration at multiple scales for prevention, early detection, and rapid response to invasive alien species. – Biodiversity, 10(2–3): 5–13.

  • Thum R.A., Mercer A.T., Wcisel D.J., 2012: Loopholes in the regulation of invasive species: genetic identifications identify mislabelling of prohibited aquarium plants. – Biological Invasions, 14: 929–937.

  • Tollington S., Turbé A., Rabitsch W., Groombridge J.J., Scalera R., Essl F., Shwartz A., 2017: Making the EU legislation on invasive species a conservation success. – Conservation Letters, 10(1): 112–120.

  • Tsiamis K., Gervasini E., Deriu I., D’Amico F., Nunes A.L., Addamo A.M., Cardoso A.C., 2017: Baseline Distribution of Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern. – Luxembourg.

  • Verbrugge L.N.H., Leuven R.S.E.W., Velde G. van der, 2010: Evaluation of international risk assessment protocols for exotic species. – Radbound.

  • Wang N., Yu F.H., Li P.X., He W.M., Liu J., Yu G.L., Song Y.B., Dong M., 2009: Clonal integration supports the expansion from terrestrial to aquatic environments of the amphibious stoloniferous herb Alternanthera philoxeroides. – Plant Biology, 11(3): 483–489.

  • Westbrooks R.G., 2004: New approaches for early detection and rapid response to invasive plants in the United States. – Weed Technology, 18: 1468–1471.

  • Zaya D.N., Leicht -Young S.A., Pavlovic N.B., Hetrea C.S., Ashley M.V., 2017: Mislabelling of an invasive vine (Celastrus orbiculatus) as a native congener (C. scandens) in Horticulture. – Invasive Plant Science and Management, 10: 313–321.


Journal + Issues