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A century of the ornamental plant trade and its impact on invasion success


Correspondence: Katharina Dehnen-Schmutz, Department of Biology, University of York, York YO10 5DD, UK. Tel.: +44 1904328629, Fax: +44 1904328 505; E-mail:


We identify a significant relationship between domestic market-based propagule pressure, as measured both in presence in the British horticultural market and in seed prices of ornamental plant species, with success in invasion. We employ a multispecies temporal approach and use a Generalized Estimation Equation model comparing ornamental non-native species introduced into Britain which started to invade with species introduced but not known outside cultivation. Historical nursery catalogues gave information on the availability and prices of seeds of 506 ornamental species in the British horticultural market every 20 years from 1885 to 1985. Higher market frequency and cheap prices of seeds were more significant and had a greater impact on the invading probability 20 years later than at the date of listing in a nursery catalogue. Our results suggest that national economic factors are an important part of the explanation for the invasiveness of ornamental plant species, and hence for the development of potential solutions.