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  • Joana Alves Gomes

Invasive plants in Portugal

After talking about native trees in Portugal I decided to share some information about invasive plants, what they are, what problems they cause and what we can do to prevent their spread.

What are invasive species?

They are exotic (non-native) species that do not coexist with native species in a balanced way, that is, they acquire invasive behaviors such as: rapid growth and dissemination in space, invasion of ecosystems and cultures, threaten the growth of native species and cause negative changes in the environment. environment. All of them also end up causing negative impacts on the economy, both because they harm existing crops and because they have characteristics that make it difficult to remove them.

1. Acacias: Acacia dealbata, longifolia, karroo hayne, mearnsii, melanoxylon, pycnantha, retinodes, saligna

The first set of species that I present is one of the best known and one of the most aggressive, it causes a decrease in the flow of water lines, aggravates soil erosion, causes alterations in the soil that make it difficult for native species to survive and favor the growth of new acacias.

2. Good morning, Ipomoea indica

This climbing species forms mats that cover large areas of land, trees and bushes, eventually causing their "asphyxiation".

3. Beach weevil, Carpobrotus edulis

This species behaves very similarly to the species described above, in addition to the fact that it causes soil acidification, favoring the propagation of its species and making it difficult for native species to propagate.

4. Prickly pear, Opuntia ficus-indica

This species, in addition to preventing the development of native plants in the areas it invades, also prevents the presence of animals through its thorny leaves.

5. Hell's fig tree, Datura stramonium

This species has a behavior similar to Ipomoea indica and Carpobrotus edulis, with the aggravating factor of interfering with the productivity of agricultural areas.

6. Lantana, Lantana camara

This species invades native ecosystems, breaking the chain of natural succession and preventing the development of native species, thus becoming a threat to diversity.

7. Feathers, Cortaderia selloana

This species, like Opuntia ficus-indica, hampers not only the development of native herbaceous and shrub species, but also the movement of animals in the areas it invades. At the human level, it causes allergies and its sharp leaves make removal operations difficult.

8. Ricino, Ricinus communis

This species reproduces quickly, forming impenetrable dense areas where native species do not grow. The seeds are very toxic to humans and horses.

9. Tobacco plant, Solanum mauritianum

This species, like all invasive species, spreads very quickly in a geographical area through seed and grows rapidly, invading the habitats of native species and threatening their development.

What can we do to prevent the spread of invasive species?

1. Learn to recognize these species;

2. Do not plant or reproduce these species, however beautiful they may seem;

3. Do not harvest these species (to take home) helping to spread the seed to other places;

4. Use the Sightings Map (;

5. If you are the owner of land with invaders, study the appropriate way to remove them, seeking municipal help if necessary;

6. Participate in voluntary actions to remove weeds;

7. Share information about the harm caused by invasive species with friends and acquaintances.

Did you already know these species?

To learn more about native species, read this article:

To learn more about invasive species visit the website:


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