Special Issue "Invasive Plants"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 October 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Tina Heger

(1) Biodiversity Research / Botany, University of Potsdam, Germany
(2) Restoration Ecology, Technical University of Munich, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: ecological novelty; invasion biology; conceptual ecology and metatheory of ecology; evolutionary ecology of invasive plants

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Invasive plants can now be found all over the world. In some areas, the presence of these species has led to striking changes; in other cases, they have become inconspicuous parts of the vegetation. Sometimes, they have effects that are clearly negative from a nature conservation point of view, and in some areas, they cause severe economic costs or human health problems. These impacts make biological invasions an important topic urgently calling for research on its applied aspects. Topics of high priority in this respect are related to finding more efficient ways for the prevention of new invasions and management of already established species.

Apart from this, invasive plants are highly interesting for basic research. During an invasion, plants get transported from their native range into a novel area. The environmental conditions in this novel area may differ considerably from those that these plants have evolved with. This leads to invasive plants usually being confronted with a whole range of abiotic and biotic conditions they are not adapted to. In this respect, plant invasions are natural experiments, offering the opportunity to study the effects of such ‘ecological novelty’ on ecological and evolutionary processes. Invasions can therefore be viewed as blueprints, also for how our native plants may respond to changing environmental conditions in the future.

For this Special Issue, we invite manuscripts (original research papers, perspectives, hypotheses, opinions, reviews, modeling approaches, and method papers) covering the whole breadth of research topics related to invasive plants.

Dr. Tina Heger
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Plants is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 550 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Plant invasions
  • Ecological novelty
  • Global change
  • Novel interactions
  • Invasion dynamics
  • Responses of native species
  • Adaptation in the new range
  • Rapid evolution
  • Prediction of future invasions
  • Prevention of plant invasions
  • Management of invasive plants

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Residence Time, Auto-Fertility and Pollinator Dependence on Reproductive Output and Spread of Alien and Native Asteraceae
Received: 18 March 2019 / Revised: 11 April 2019 / Accepted: 18 April 2019 / Published: 23 April 2019
PDF Full-text (1074 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Alien plants benefit from auto-fertility to spread over areas where the lack of co-evolved mutualists would otherwise limit invasion success. However, the widespread generalists among mutualists and their large geographical ranges allow alien plants to be integrated into networks. The role of residence [...] Read more.
Alien plants benefit from auto-fertility to spread over areas where the lack of co-evolved mutualists would otherwise limit invasion success. However, the widespread generalists among mutualists and their large geographical ranges allow alien plants to be integrated into networks. The role of residence time also has to be accounted for, as it takes time for a species to spread and adapt to a new area. We investigated how residence time, auto-fertility and pollinator dependence affect reproductive output and invasion success of Asteraceae in Germany. We conducted a multi-species common-garden experiment along an alien–native continuum including 42 species of natives, archaeophytes and neophytes (casual and established), subjecting plant individuals either to free access or exclusion of pollinators. Pollinator dependence does not play a crucial role in invasion success, with most Asteraceae being able to self-fertilize. Surprisingly, both established neophytes and natives showed higher abilities to self-fertilize, while archaeophytes and casual neophytes were more attractive to pollinators. In contrast to casual neophytes, the established neophytes’ strategy was associated with a large reproductive output. Yet, auto-fertility was not associated with range size, since archaeophytes reached the largest range sizes. Elucidating how breeding systems affect invasion success is crucial for predicting and managing invasions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Invasive Plants)

Figure 1

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Potential interactive effects between invasive Lumbricus terrestris and the invasive plant garlic mustard on a native plant

Authors: Colin G. Cope1, Sarah R. Eysenbach3, Alexandra S. Faidiga1, Constance E. Hausman3, Juliana S. Medeiros1,2 Jennifer E. Murphy1, Jean H. Burns1

Affiliations: 1Department of Biology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, 44106; 2 The Holden Arboretum, 9500 Sperry Road, Kirtland, Ohio, USA, 44094; 3 Cleveland Metroparks, 2277 W Ridgewood Drive, Parma, OH, USA, 44134

Abstract: Many studies have focused on how single invaders influence other species. However, most ecosystems are not affected by just a single invader. Interactions between species can have additive or non-additive effects. Our study highlights the need to account for interactions amongst multiple invaders, and how these interactions might have additive or non-additive effects. We used observational field data taken from the Cleveland Metroparks to examine how invasive earthworms and garlic mustard interacted to affect the native spring ephemeral mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum), and whether the soil environment influences the potential interaction between these invaders. We also used a two-year 2 × 2 × 2 factorial pot experiment with the presence or absence of garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), Lumbricus terrestris, and activated carbon to experimentally test for a potential interaction between these invasive species. Activated carbon was added as a treatment because of its highly absorptive properties, which might absorb allelochemicals produced from the garlic mustard, as well as influencing soil nutrient availability. We measured native plant physiological responses to these experimental treatments, as well as nutrient content within leaf tissues, as a measure of invader effects on nutrient uptake and physiology. Within the factorial experiment, we found that garlic mustard suppressed mayapple growth in the presence of L. terrestris, but only when activated carbon was present. While more physiological studies of invader interactive effects are needed, our study suggests that enhanced nutrient uptake (i.e. in the presence of earthworms) does not always lead to greater maximum photosynthetic rates or greater plant growth rates.


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