Anales del Jardín Botánico de Madrid, Vol 69, No 2 (2012)

Acacia cyclops A. Cunn. ex G. Don (Leguminosae) in Italy: first cases of naturalization

Salvatore Pasta
Facoltà di Agraria, Università di Palermo, Dipartimento DEMETRA, Italy

Emilio Badalamenti
Facoltà di Agraria, Università di Palermo, Dipartimento DEMETRA, Italy

Tommaso La Mantia
Facoltà di Agraria, Università di Palermo, Dipartimento DEMETRA, Italy


The first two cases of naturalization of Acacia cyclops are reported for Italy. Young trees were observed growing in the wild some 15 years ago on Linosa (Pelagie Islands, Strait of Sicily). A decade later, this alien plant should no longer be considered as a casual, since a very intensive process of self-sown regeneration has been observed in some plantations on Lampedusa, the major island of the same Archipelago. The available literature suggests the need for careful monitoring of the ongoing invasion process, as A. cyclops has already shown a very invasive behaviour elsewhere within Mediterranean-type biomes due to its ability to withstand high environmental stresses. As migrating birds are suspected to have played an important role in facilitating the arrival of A. cyclops, further propagules are likely to reach the islands in the future. We recommend that new plantations of A. cyclops should be forbidden, but that extant naturalized populations should be managed instead of eradicating them. In fact, the effect of Acacia plantations warrants investigation at different scales in order to assess their impact on local plant-diversity and ecological succession processes.


Alien plants; Mediterranean; Biological invasions; island vascular flora

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