Assessing the speed and predictability of local adaptation in invasive California poppies (Eschscholzia californica)


Elizabeth A. Leger, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science; University of Nevada, Reno, Mail Stop 370, Fleishmann Agriculture Room 121, Reno, NV 89557-0013, USA. Tel.: +1 (775) 784-7582; fax: +1 (775) 784-4789; e-mail:


Insight into the speed and predictability of local adaptation can be gained by studying organisms, such as invasive species, that have recently expanded their geographical ranges. Common garden studies were designed to address these issues with the California poppy, Eschscholzia californica, collected from a wide range of environments in both its native (California) and invasive (Chile) ranges. We found similar patterns of plant trait variation along similar abiotic gradients in plants collected from both areas. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that coastal plants from both areas tended to be shorter, smaller plants with smaller seeds and flowers that germinate and flower later than plants collected from inland locations. In addition, size and fecundity traits in both native and invasive poppies were correlated with average rainfall totals; the plants that grew the largest and were the most fecund during the first year of growth originated from the driest areas. This parallel variation suggests that these traits are adaptive and that these patterns have evolved in Chile during the 110–150 years since introduction.