Colocasia esculenta: an invasive plant spreading in the Iberian Penninsula
Colocasia esculenta (Araceae) is an emergent, perennial, semi-aquatic herbaceous species native to Asia. The species, commonly known as taro is utilized for its edible corms. In several warm and temperate areas of the world (for example Australia and Central and South America), C. esculenta shows invasive behavior. The species is also beginning to become invasive in Spain and four newly invaded localities have been observed in Andalucía. These include two sites in the Cádiz province and two sites in the Seville province where all invaded sites are located within protected areas. The habitats invaded include a combination of small temporary streams, irrigation channels, inland wetlands and large rivers such as the River Ebro. Additionally, C. esculenta is recorded from mainland Portugal but the status of the species remains unclear. Several records exist in Portuguese databases but further information about these populations is needed before the species can be considered to be established. It should be noted that C. esculenta is invasive in the islands of Madeira and the Azores. The authors assessed the risk of C. esculenta through risk assessment at two geographical scales (1) Iberian Peninsula and (2) Continental Europe, and concluded that the species poses a significant risk to these regions. The authors suggest that the species should be regulated in Europe.
Dana ED, García-de-Lomas, Verloove F, García-Ocaña, Gámez V, Alcaraz J, Ortiz JM (2017) Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott (Araceae), an expanding invasive species of aquatic ecosystems in the Iberian Peninsula: new records and risk assessments. Limnetica 36, 15-27.