Do short-lived and long-lived alien plant species differ regarding the traits associated with their success in the introduced range?

Annamária Fenesi, Zoltán Botta-Dukát

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


In spite of the several studies trying to identify the biological traits that are generally associated with the success of alien plant species, only a few traits are consistently shown to be important. Dividing the species into meaningful sub-categories may improve our ability to distinguish successful alien species. We asked whether there are differences between short-lived and long-lived herbaceous aliens regarding the biological traits associated with their success in their introduced range. We used the source-area approach to answer the question by performing a comparative study with those Central-European herbaceous plant species which are invasive or non-invasive aliens in the United States. Biological traits used in the analysis were extracted from European databases. The significant traits (with one exception) conferred invasiveness for only one of the two life history groups. These results outline a particular combination of competition and colonization in both groups, although achieved in different ways. Short-lived invasive species, which are supposed to be good colonizers with effective reproduction and dispersal, are backed by some kind of competitive ability conferred by height; while in the case of competitive and persistent long-lived species, the successful aliens are equipped with traits that make them better colonizers than other perennial alien species (e.g., tolerance for a wide range of anthropogenic disturbance, dispersal through water).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-623
Number of pages13
JournalBiological Invasions
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2010



  • Central Europe
  • Colonization
  • Competitive ability
  • Disturbance hypothesis
  • Life span
  • Naturalization-invasion continuum
  • Source-area approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

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