Alien plants of Europe: an overview of national and regional inventories

Veronika Kalusová 1 , Natálie Čeplová 1 2 , Jiří Danihelka 1 3 , Martin Večeřa 1 , Petr Pyšek 4 5 , Arnaud Albert 6 , Paulina Anastasiu 7 , Idoia Biurrun 8 , Steffen Boch 9 , Cyril Cottaz 10 , Franz Essl 11 , Anna Kuzemko 1 12 , Semir Maslo 13 , Stephen Mifsud 14 , Vira V. Protopopova 12 15 , Myroslav Shevera 12 15 , Culiţă Sîrbu 16 , Jens-Christian Svenning 17 , Erik Welk 18 19 & Irena Axmanová 1


  1. Department of Botany and Zoology, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Kotlářská 2, CZ-61127 Brno, Czech Republic
  2. Department of Biology, Faculty of Education, Masaryk University, Poříčí 623/7, CZ-60300 Brno, Czech Republic
  3. Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute of Botany, Department of Taxonomy, CZ-25243 Průhonice, Czech Republic
  4. Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute of Botany, Department of Invasion Ecology, CZ-25243 Průhonice, Czech Republic
  5. Department of Ecology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Viničná 7, CZ-12844 Prague, Czech Republic
  6. Department of Research and Scientific Support, French Biodiversity Agency, Nantes, France
  7. Department of Botany and Microbiology, Faculty of Biology, Botanic Garden D. Brandza, University of Bucharest, Romania
  8. Department of Plant Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Bilbao, Spain
  9. WSL Swiss Federal Research Institute, Birmensdorf, Switzerland
  10. Mediterranean National Botanical Conservatory, Port-Cros National Park, Hyères, France
  11. Divison of BioInvasions, Global Change & Macroecology, Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  12. M. G. Kholodny Institute of Botany of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine
  13. Primary School, Lundåkerskolan, Gislaved, Sweden
  14. EcoGozo Directorate, Ministry for Gozo, Victoria, Gozo, Malta
  15. Ferenc Rákóczi II Transcarpathian Hungarian College of Higher Education, Berehove, Ukraine
  16. Ion Ionescu de la Brad University of Life Sciences, Iaşi, Romania
  17. Center for Ecological Dynamics in a Novel Biosphere (ECONOVO), Department of Biology, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
  18. Institute of Biology/Geobotany and Botanical Garden, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle/Saale, Germany
  19. German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany

Published: 18 June 2024 ,

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As a result of human activities, a considerable part of European vascular plants and their populations are non-native. Since the publication of previous studies summarizing the composition and structure of European alien flora, our knowledge has increased, and new alien plant inventories and updates to existing ones have been published. The aim of our work was to create an overview of currently available inventories in Europe, compare them and identify the main gaps and inconsistencies. We compiled 111 national or regional inventories published up to 2022 for 55 European territories, i.e. countries, selected regions within countries, large islands and archipelagos. Using a standardized methodological approach, we unified taxonomy, nomenclature, residence time, invasion status categories, and origin. At the level of the European species pool, we identified 7,335 alien vascular plant species, which is 1,546 more than in the previous study from 2008. Regarding residence time, 1.5% of plants were considered as archaeophytes, 77.2% as neophytes, 9.3% as archaeophytes in one part and neophytes in another part of Europe, while 12.0% of species had undistinguished alien status. Regarding invasion status, 33.3% of aliens were casual, 36.3% were naturalized, and 14.4% were invasive in at least one European territory; for 5.8% of taxa, the invasion status could not be reliably assessed. At the level of individual territories, archaeophytes and neophytes were recognized in 40.0% of the European territories with data available. Regarding the invasion status, the full categorization was available only for 43.6% of territories, while in 20.0%, only invasive species were listed. We found 114 species reported to occur in more than half of the territories. The most widespread species were Erigeron canadensis, Amaranthus retroflexus, Galinsoga parviflora and Robinia pseudoacacia. Most aliens belonged to the families Asteraceae, Poaceae, Rosaceae and Fabaceae. The highest proportions of alien species in Europe originated from temperate Asia (20.4%), temperate Europe (19.6%) and the Mediterranean region (19.0%). Invasive species originated predominantly from the American continent (22.9%) and temperate Asia (19.7%). We found gaps and significant persisting inconsistencies not only in the recognition of residence time and invasion status across territories but also in contradicting status assignments of individual species. This raises the need for a critical reassessment of species’ status across Europe, most notably on the Balkan Peninsula and in north-eastern Europe. Updated and standardized national alien checklists are crucial for reliable analysis of the magnitude, mechanisms and impact of invasions, as well as for risk assessments and management across Europe.


checklist, Europe, invasion status, non-native species, residence time, vascular plants

How to cite

Kalusová V., Čeplová N., Danihelka J., Večeřa M., Pyšek P., Albert A., Anastasiu P., Biurrun I., Boch S., Cottaz C., Essl F., Kuzemko A., Maslo S., Mifsud S., Protopopova V. V., Shevera M., Sîrbu C., Svenning J.-C., Welk E. & Axmanová I. (2024) Alien plants of Europe: an overview of national and regional inventories. – Preslia 96: 149182,