Biological flora of the British Isles: Crassula helmsii

Journal article

Smith, T. and Buckley, P. 2020. Biological flora of the British Isles: Crassula helmsii. Journal of Ecology. 108 (2), pp. 797-813.
AuthorsSmith, T. and Buckley, P.

1. This account presents information on all aspects of the biology of Crassula helmsii (Kirk) Cockayne (New Zealand Pygmyweed, Australian Swamp Stonecrop) that are relevant to understanding its ecological characteristics and behaviour.
The main topics are presented within the standard framework of the Biological Flora of the British Isles: distribution, habitat, communities, responses to biotic factors, responses to environment, structure and physiology, phenology, floral
and seed characters, herbivores and disease, history, and conservation.

2. Crassula helmsii is an invasive aquatic macrophyte originating from Australia and New Zealand. The first naturalized population was recorded in Britain in 1956. All
British specimens appear to represent a single lineage. DNA analysis indicates that British specimens originate from Australia.

3. Crassula helmsii is capable of growing in a wide range of lentic freshwater and riparian habitats. It may grow as free floating, submerged, emergent or terrestrial forms. Morphology can differ markedly on the same stem.

4. Flowers are produced, but with no known pollinators outside of its native range. Reproduction is thought to be predominantly by asexual methods outside Australia and New Zealand, through stem fragmentation and dispersal. Seed germination outside the native range appears to be very rare and poorly understood.

5. Crassula helmsii has been and still is controlled by active management because of fears that its capacity to produce monocultures will lead to loss of biodiversity in the plant communities it invades. Evidence for species losses due to colonization by C. helmsii is rather anecdotal, although suppression of native biomass through competition has been reported. No consistently effective control procedures have been identified.

KeywordsEcophysiolog; Geographical and altitudinal distribution; Germination; Management,; Non-native invasive; Reproductive biology
JournalJournal of Ecology
Journal citation108 (2), pp. 797-813
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1111/1365-2745.13336
Official URL
Publication dates
Online20 Feb 2020
Publication process dates
Deposited20 Feb 2020
Accepted02 Dec 2019

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