Scientific journal launches new series on the biology of invasive plants


Credit: Photo: Grant Martin

WESTMINSTER, Colorado – November 16 2020 – Today the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management (IPSM) announced the launch of a new series focused on the biology and ecology of invasive plants.

“Our goal is to assemble information that can serve as a trusted point of reference for key stakeholders,” says Darren Kriticos of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, associate editor of IPSM and coeditor of the new series. “Each article will focus on an emerging threat and provide practical recommendations for how to intervene.”

Maps will be included to highlight the potential for the featured weed to spread to new countries or new continents. The information is intended to serve as an alert for biosecurity managers, who can determine whether they need to take preventive measures.

The inaugural article in the new series focuses on the weedy shrub Pyrachantha augustifolia. Historically grown as a garden ornamental and hedge plant, pyracantha has become a global invader now prohibited in many countries.

Birds and small animals attracted to pyracantha’s bright red berries have helped to spread the plant well outside its cultivated range. It can form dense, impenetrable thickets with sharp thorns that reduce the value of grazing lands and can harbor insects and diseases that damage crops.

Pyracantha is tolerant of cold, frost, strong winds and seasonally dry conditions. That means many habitats around the globe are at risk of invasion, including areas of Argentina, the United States and Central Europe. Pyracantha thrives in semi-arid regions where it can be difficult to manage cost-effectively using conventional methods. Researchers say biological controls may provide a safe, sustainable solution, especially in sensitive conservation settings and in “low input” production systems.

“In this age of globalization, there are numerous invasive plants like pyracantha that are spreading throughout the world,” says David Clements, coeditor of the series and a professor at Trinity Western University. “Our new series is designed to look not only at the biology of invasive weeds, but also at the pathways they are most likely to use to invade new jurisdictions.”

Scientists interesting in contributing articles to the new series are encouraged to send inquires to [email protected]


To learn more about pyracantha and the risk it represents, you are invited to read “The Biology of Invasive Plants: Pyracantha angustifolia,” which appears in Volume 13, Issue 3 of IPSM. The article is currently available Open Access.

About Invasive Plant Science and Management

Invasive Plant Science and Management is a journal of the Weed Science Society of America, a nonprofit scientific society focused on weeds and their impact on the environment. The publication focuses on invasive plant species. To learn more, visit

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