Invasive, naturalized and casual alien plants in southern Africa: an update from the Southern African Plant Invaders Atlas (SAPIA)

Invasive, naturalized and casual alien plants in southern Africa: an update from the Southern African Plant Invaders Atlas (SAPIA)
Lesley Henderson
ARC-PPRI

The Southern African Plant Invaders Atlas (SAPIA) is a mapping project, launched in January 1994, to collate data on the distribution, abundance and habitat types of invasive alien plants (IAPs) in southern Africa. The SAPIA database is a computerized catalogue of some 86 000 locality records of close on 800 alien plant species growing outside of cultivation. The database incorporates records gathered by about 600 participants, since 1994, and from roadside surveys by the author since 1979.

The first comprehensive overview of species in the SAPIA database was done in 2006, with a listing of 601 species. Ten years later, in 2016, a further 180 species have been added to the database, bringing the total number of listed species to 781. Of the 180 species added to SAPIA, 100 are newly emerging species and 33 are established species but not previously documented in the Pretoria National Herbarium or literature.

Although the SAPIA database is the most comprehensive database on IAPs in South Africa it does not include all naturalized species. A further 500 or more species are known from the Pretoria National Herbarium