Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council

DISTRIBUTION OF 116 NON-NATIVE PLANTS IN ALABAMA BASED ON ON-STATE HERBARIA RECORDS. Curtis J. Hansen1 and Nancy J. Loewenstein 2, 1-Dept of Biological Sciences and 2-School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University. (


Information regarding the distribution, abundance and spread of non-native plants across the state of Alabama has not been well documented. Consequently, it is difficult to rank the threat these species pose to the environment and economy of the state and to prioritize research and management efforts. While not unbiased, herbaria records can provide a wealth of baseline information regarding the distribution, habitat preferences and possibly the rate of spread, both temporally and spatially, of non-native plants across the state. The objective of this study is to review the collections of non-native plant specimens from the four major Alabama herbaria to obtain the described baseline data.

A list of 116 non-native plants, currently being ranked by the Alabama Invasive Plant Council, will serve as the basis for this study. The label information (county, collection date & location, general habitat type) from each species on the list will be entered into a Microsoft Access database. In addition, information regarding whether the specimen was collected in an urban or rural setting will be noted. Label data from ten common native species will also be obtained to provide a means of determining sampling bias associated with the non-native plant collections (1). The following Alabama herbaria will be searched: Auburn University, University of Alabama, Jacksonville State University, and Troy University.

Data collection for this project is still underway. Initial results suggest that herbaria collection rates in Alabama are not high enough to provide a sufficient sample for determination of temporal and spatial patterns of spread. However, the data base will provide a valuable tool regarding, known distributions of these species and information regarding gaps in collections.


  1. Delisle, F., C Lavoie, Jean M. and Lachance, D. 2003. Reconstructing the spread of invasive plants: taking into account biases associated with herbarium specimens. J of Biogeography 30:1033-1042.
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