Breeding system and pollination ecology of introduced plants compared to their native relatives

Alexandra N. Harmon-Threatt, Jean H. Burns, Lyudmila A. Shemyakina, Tiffany M. Knight

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Identifying how plant-enemy interactions contribute to the success of introduced species has been a subject of much research, while the role of plant-pollinator interactions has received less attention. The ability to reproduce in new environments is essential for the successful establishment and spread of introduced species. Introduced plant species that are not capable of autonomous self-fertilization and are unable to attract resident pollinators may suffer from pollen limitation. Our study quantifies the degree of autogamy and pollination ecology of 10 closely related pairs of native and introduced plant species at a single site near St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Most of these species pairs had similar capacities for autogamy; however, of those that differed, the introduced species were more autogamous than their native congeners. Most introduced plants have pollinator visitation rates similar to those of their native congeners. Of the 20 species studied, only three had significant pollen limitation. We suggest that the success of most introduced plant species is because they are highly autogamous or because their pollinator visitation rates are similar to those of their native relatives. Understanding and identifying traits related to pollination success that are key in successful introductions may allow better understanding and prediction of biological invasions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1544-1550
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of botany
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Autogamy
  • Introduced plants
  • Invasive species
  • Mutualism
  • Plant mating systems
  • Plant-pollinator interactions
  • Pollen supplementation
  • Pollinator visitation rates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Breeding system and pollination ecology of introduced plants compared to their native relatives'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this