Friday, October 19, 2007


If you are curious about the various non-native plants that now call the Galapagos home, this new article over at PLoS one from Guézou et al. will give you all the details. An investigation of the flora of Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island, it includes a list of 261 introduced taxa, from trees and herbs to shrubs and vines. The majority of the species, as would be expected, were introduced for ornamental use. The article's extensive list includes many species known to have invasive tendencies in other parts of the world. It concludes with discussion of a set of nine species recommended for management or further study, including Cuban hemp (Furcraea hexapetala), tropical soda apple (Solanum capsicoides) and prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica).

It is interesting to consider how the location of an urbanized village could be impacting one of the world's most treasured island ecosystems. It is a potential inroad for new invaders, but at the same time is valuable as a place to do early detection surveys that will help identify and catch known invasive species, both cultivated and accidentally introduced, before they spread out of control.

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