Katharina Dehnen-Schmutz1, Tom Humphrey2 and Kevin Walker2
1Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University, UK
2Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI), UK
Ornamental horticulture is the main pathway for alien plants in the British Flora. However, insufficient resources are available to conduct risk assessments and preventive management for all non-native ornamentals planted in gardens (the Royal Horticultural Society’s Plant Finder lists about 70,000 plants for sale in Britain). It is therefore vital to identify those species that may have a higher potential to become invasive aliens outside gardens with negative impacts on biodiversity. A recent pilot study demonstrated that asking gardeners to report on spreading ornamentals from their gardens seems to be a valuable contribution for the identification of potential future invasive ornamental plants and would be useful for horizon scanning and risk assessments (Dehnen-Schmutz & Conroy 2018). As a result of this pilot study, a permanent web-based reporting tool “Plant Alert” has been created to enable gardeners to report plants whenever they become aware of the problems. The project aims to promote the web page whenever reports of invasive garden plants appear, for example in the popular press or in social media. Annual reports of submitted records will be published and communicated to policy makers and the horticultural industry.
Dehnen-Schmutz K. & Conroy J. (2018) Working with gardeners to identify potential invasive ornamental garden plants: testing a citizen science approach. Biol. Invas. 20: 3069–3077