EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 03 - 2006 Num. article: 2006/069

Present knowledge on invasive plants in Morocco


A survey of the adventive flora in Morocco shows that 2/3 of its exotic species were introduced between 1970 and 1997. Solanaceae and Poaceae are the main families represented (50% of the total number of adventive species):

Latin name
Family
Bayer Code
(EPPT Database)
Probable year of introduction
Nicotiana glauca
Ricinus communis
Oxalis pes-caprae
Kochia scoparia
Salpichroa origanifolia
Solanum elaeagnifolium (EPPO List of Invasive Alien plants)
Abutilon theophrasti
Ammannia coccinea
Echinochloa phyllopogon
Cyperus difformis
Dactyloctenium aegyptiacum
Euphorbia heterophylla
Solanum cornuuim
Brachiaria eruciformis
Corchorus olitorius
Panicum capillare
Verbesina encelioides
Solanaceae
Euphorbiaceae
Oxalidaceae
Chenopodiaceae
Solanaceae
Solanaceae

Malvaceae
Lythraceae
Poaceae
Poaceae
Poaceae
Euphorbiaceae
Solanaceae
Poaceae
Tiliaceae
Poaceae
Asteraceae
NIOGL
RIICO
OXAPC
KCHSC
SAPOR
SOLEL

ABUTH
AMMCO
ECHPH
CYPDI
DTTAE
EPHHL
SOLCU
BRAER
CRGOL
PANCA
VEEEN
Before 1931
Before 1931
Before 1931
1948
1949
1949

1980
1980
1980
1980
1980
1980
1986
1970
1990
1990
1997

Since 1984, only Solanum elaeagnifolium, Oxalis pes-caprae and Verbesina encelioides have been studied and monitored.

Verbesina encelioides originates from the eastern United States. It is recorded in Australia, India, Argentina, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Saudi Arabia, Israel (South-West) and doubtfully in Europe (unconfirmed records in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Sweden, Tutin et al., 1964-1980). It is described as very invasive where it has established, especially in India. In Morocco, it colonizes wastelands, roadsides, and starts to invade crops.  Due to its rapid growth and huge production of seeds, it rapidly outcompetes cultivated or indigenous plants. It is very toxic when ingested by cattle.

Oxalis pes-caprae is a well known invasive plant in the whole Mediterranean Basin. It comes from South Africa and mainly colonizes anthropised sites (e.g. roadsides, in the vicinity of human habitation) and crops (e.g. orchards, vineyards, cereals, vegetables). The plant forms monospecific stands, smothering the rest of the vegetation. An allelopathic effect on cereals has also been identified: it can reduce the germinability of cereal seeds to 63 %.

Moreover, Molero and Montserrat (2006) report that recent field investigations in the middle and low Moulouya Valley (East Morocco) have revealed the presence of new Chenopodiaceae in the flora of Morocco. These species are: Suaeda aegyptiaca, Atriplex suberecta, Atriplex semibaccata and Bassia scoparia. The latter three are clearly neophytes, escaped from cultivation in many cases, while the former is a native species in all countries eastward from Libya to Pakistan. Suaeda aegyptiaca is an invasive therophyte that grows on fields which were damaged after badly planned irrigation practices and is a regular component of wadis and naturally disturbed places. S. aegyptiaca is here reported for the first time for the Maghreb countries, but it is not known whether it is native or introduced.
The two species of Atriplex, both native from South Australia, are nowadays expanding invasive plants. A. semibaccata is widespread in South Australia where it is usually found in heavy soils, sometimes slightly saline, and is frequently an invader of disturbed areas. Many localities with similar conditions exist in North-East Morocco, where this species seems to be quite common, although few records of this plant have been made in recent floras. Atriplex suberecta appears to be much rarer and has been reported for Morocco for the first time. Bassia scoparia has been included as an invader in almost all recent floras but very few localities could be identified in practice.

Sources

Molero J, Montserrat JM (2006) Some new neophytes for the North East of Morocco. In: Invasive plants in Mediterranean Type Regions of the World (Ed. by S Brunel). Council of Europe publishing. Strasbourg. p. 333.

Taleb A, Bouhache M (2006) Etat actuel de nos connaissances sur les plantes envahissantes au Maroc. In: Invasive plants in Mediterranean Type Regions of the World (Ed. by S Brunel). Council of Europe publishing. Strasbourg. p. 99-107.

Information on Verbesina encelioides:
http://www.hear.org/hnis/reports/verbesina_encelioides_hnis.pdf

Tutin et al. (1964-1980) Flora Europaea. 5 Vol. Cambridge University Press.