Biodiv Sci ›› 2010, Vol. 18 ›› Issue (1): 19-28.  DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2010.019

Special Issue: 生物入侵

• Original Papers • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Species composition of alien plants in the built-up area of Beijing

Juanjuan Zhao1, Zhiyun Ouyang1,*(), Hua Zheng1, Weihua Xu1, Xiaoke Wang1, Yongming Ni2   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085
    2 Beijing Museum of Natural History, Beijing 100050
  • Received:2009-03-03 Accepted:2009-12-16 Online:2010-01-20 Published:2010-01-20
  • Contact: Zhiyun Ouyang


The widely-used practice of planting alien plant species has become a major concern in Chinese urban management. It is imperative to investigate the composition of alien plant species in urban areas for plant diversity protection and green space management. In this study, we investigated 1050 tree plots, 797 shrub plots and 2,228 herbaceous plots based on stratified random selection, within the fifth ring road area of Beijing. The results revealed the following: (1) There were 324 plant species from 208 genera and 80 families recorded in the study area; (2) The percentage of alien plants in the built-up area of Beijing was as high as 53%, and 64% of the alien species originated from America and Asia, and evergreens and lianas had the highest percentage of alien species among the various life forms present; (3) The major alien plant species in terms of high coverage, density and occurrence were Buchloe dactyloides, Amaranthus blitum, Chloris virgata, Euonymus japonicus, Sabina chinensis, Robinia pseudoacacia and Pinus bungeana. Some of these species had become the dominant plant species in the green spaces of the study area; (4) The percentage of alien plant species in institutional green spaces was higher than other green spaces; (5) The chorological spectra of the alien plant genera were wide; and (6) Compared to native species, the percentages of tropical elements were higher and the percentages of temperate elements were lower in the study area. Our results highlighted the changes in plant species composition in Beijing caused by intensive introduction of alien plants with aesthetic values.

Key words: urban plants, alien plants, urban green space, life forms, dominant species, chorological spectra