What drives performance potential of Lantana camara L. (sensu lato) in the invaded range?
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Lantana camara L. (sensu lato), one of the world’s worst invaders has disseminated rapidly and continues to expand in its invaded range. Invasiveness of a species can broadly be gauged by determining trait values, considered as manifestation of performance ability. In spite of vast range expansion, performance of Lantana in its different invaded ranges is under-studied. We measured vegetative and reproductive traits of Lantana in two of its invaded ranges with differential residence timeframes viz. India and South Africa. Comparative field observations revealed that the Indian populations were more vigorous than those in South Africa in terms of key traits. NMS ordination revealed that traits of Lantana in both ranges were significantly related to climatic variables. Substantially different mean annual temperature and/or residence timeframe in the two invaded ranges might have driven contrasting performance ability of Lantana. Results highlight that plant invaders may experience disproportionate success in varied invaded ranges owing to distinction in time elapsed since initial introduction in tandem with environmental factors, which may have crucial implications for their management. However, the study calls for further disentangling the factor(s) which contribute to species’ invasive success in the invaded range.
- RESEARCH: Esler K