The impact of Lysichiton americanus on native vegetation in the United Kingdom
Two sites were studied on the riverine woodland of the Harcourt Wood in the United Kingdom (near Minstead, Hampshire) to consider the impacts of Lysichiton americanus (Araceae, EPPO Observation List of Invasive Alien Plants) on native vegetation. These observations revealed that L. americanus is unlikely to be able to invade damp sites but can well colonize drained alluvial woodland dominated by Alnus spp., Betula spp., Corylus spp., Fraxinus spp., Salix spp., etc. Concerning the spread potential of L.;americanus, evidence at Harcourt suggests that individual plants are capable of ‘jumps’ of tens of metres. In addition, the upstream spread at Harcourt indicates that bird dispersal of the berries may occur. It was observed that in the Harcourt Wood, L. americanus was displacing nearly all other plant species. By forming large dense patches, access to light is thus reduced for other plants. The species was therefore assessed as having considerable threat to high quality native wet woodland habitat, which concerns at least one priority habitat (alluvial forests) in the UK.
Sanderson N (2013) New forest non-native plants project research on the impact of skunk cabbage Lysichiton americanus on native vegetation. Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. 52 pp.