Observed Dispersal of Invasive Yellow Flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus) through a Saline Marine Environment and Growth in a Novel Substrate, Shell Hash

Abstract

Invasive in North America, Iris pseudacorus is commonly considered a freshwater species; however, I. pseudacorus can tolerate some saltwater, and is observed in brackish coastal habitats such as estuaries and marshes. Despite this tolerance, saltwater depresses I. pseudacorus reproduction, growth, survival, and dispersal ability. This raises the question of whether I. pseudacorus can spread through a marine environment and establish away from sources of freshwater. This study reports the observation of 104 established juvenile I. pseudacorus individuals in coastal habitat on two islands in southern British Columbia, Canada. Two islands that are devoid of aboveground freshwater sources such as streams, rivers, or lakes that connect to marine habitats. Individuals were also observed growing in a novel substrate, shell hash (fragments of bivalve and gastropod shells that accumulate in areas of low hydrological energy). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first confirmed case of I. pseudacorus growing in a high salinity (30 PSU) shell hash environment. Despite the need for more study, this observation suggests that a broader range of coastal habitat may be susceptible for invasion by I. pseudacorus than previously thought.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

Data Availability

All data is available upon reasonable request to Parks Canada.

References

  1. Ackleh A, Zhang P (2009) Competitive exclusion in a discrete stage-structured two species model. Math Modell Natural Phenomen 4:156–175

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Caplis M, Dreyer GD (2001) Living resources and habitats of the lower Connecticut. River. Connecticut College Arboretum. Bulletin Number: 37. 82pp

  3. Cody WJ (1961) Iris pseudacorus L. escaped from cultivation in Canada. The Canadian Field Naturalist 75:139–142

    Google Scholar 

  4. DiTomaso JM, Kyser GB (2016) Shoreline drizzle applications for control of incipient patches of Yellowflag Iris (Iris pseudacorus). Invasive Plant Science and Management 9:205–213

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Engİn A, Kandemİr N, Şenel G, Özkan M (1998) An autecological study on Iris pseudacorus L.(Iridaceae). Turkish Journal of Botany 22:335–340

    Google Scholar 

  6. Gaskin JF, Pokorny ML, Mangold JM (2016) An unusual case of seed dispersal in an invasive aquatic; yellow flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus). Biological Invasions 18:2067–2075

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Gerwing TG, Davies MM, Clements JC, Flores A-M, Thomson HM, Nelson KR, Kushneryk K, Brourd-John E, Harvey B, Plate E (2020) Do you want to breach an embankment? Synthesis of the literature and practical recommendations for breaching of tidally influenced causeways and dikes. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 245:107024

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Gong L, Wong H, Kong X, Li G, Liu E, Xu C, Xu Y (2015) Iris Pseudoacorus biology habitat, cultivation technology and its application in environmental protection. International conference on education, management, commerce and society (EMCS-15). Atlantis Press

  9. Jacobs J, Graves M, Mangold J (2010) Ecology and management of Yellowflag Iris (Iris pseudacorus L.). Invasive species technical note no. MT-28. United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. 6pp

  10. Kettenring KM, Adams CR (2011) Lessons learned from invasive plant control experiments: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Ecology 48:970–979

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Mopper S, Wiens KC, Goranova GA (2016) Competition, salinity, and clonal growth in native and introduced irises. American Journal of Botany 103:1575–1581

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Mulqueen J, Gleeson T (1988) Association of the Yellow Flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus L.) with ground water seepage and its possible use as an indicator plant. Irish Journal of Agricultural Research:106–110

  13. Pathikonda S, Ackleh AS, Hasenstein KH, Mopper S (2009) Invasion, disturbance, and competition: modeling the fate of coastal plant populations. Conservation Biology 23:164–173

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Sutherland W (1990) Biological flora of the British Isles. Journal of Ecology 78:833–848

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Sutherland W, Walton D (1990) The changes in morphology and demography of Iris pseudacorus L. at different heights on a saltmarsh. Functional Ecology 4:655–659

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Tarasoff CS, Streichert K, Gardner W, Heise B, Church J, Pypker TG (2016) Assessing benthic barriers vs. aggressive cutting as effective yellow flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus) control mechanisms. Invasive Plant Science and Management 9:229–234

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Weidlich EW, Flórido FG, Sorrini TB, Brancalion PH (2020) Controlling invasive plant species in ecological restoration: a global review. Journal of Applied Ecology 57:1806–1817

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Funding

Funding for this study was provided by Gulf Islands National Park Reserve (Parks Canada).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

TGG, HMT, EKB-J, KK, MMD, PL, and KRN contributed equally to the production of this manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Travis G. Gerwing.

Ethics declarations

Conflicts of Interest

No conflicts of interest exist.

Ethics Approval

No ethics approval was required for this study.

Consent to Participate

No consent for participation was required.

Consent for Publication

No consent for publication was required.

Code Availability

Not Applicable.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Gerwing, T.G., Thomson, H.M., Brouard-John, E.K. et al. Observed Dispersal of Invasive Yellow Flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus) through a Saline Marine Environment and Growth in a Novel Substrate, Shell Hash. Wetlands 41, 1 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13157-021-01421-w

Download citation

Keywords

  • Colonization
  • Dispersal
  • Estuary
  • Invasive plant
  • Salinity
  • Wetland