Plant spread and invasion (WP 3.2)

When dealing with the problem of invasive plants, certain exotic species colonise their new territory with ease, whereas their close relatives are rather scarce. What are the characteristics that can explain these differences? That is the main question of this project.

The method involves comparing five members - a quintet - of the same plant family, consisting of an invasive exotic species, a non-invasive exotic species, a common native species, a native species that has been rare for a long time and an indigenous species that has recently become rare. The researchers will study ten of these quintets, one of them being the Apiaceae family, of which the giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) belongs to.

This species is invasive in Western Europe and causes numerous ecological, economical and public health problems. It invaded this region competing with wild angelica (Angelica sylvestris), a common indigenous species, and the hogweed (Heracleum austriacum ), which has always been rare. On the other hand, miss willmott's ghost (Eryngium giganteum), which is also exotic, has been extremely successful in this region. The project hopes to shed some light on the reason why. 




senior scientists


  • D. Wayne (Uni Konstanz/D)