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Pre‐mission invasion of Erodium cicutarium in California

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Abstract. The California grassland is dominated by alien plant species. It is generally assumed that the invasion of aliens began with the initial introduction of livestock by Spanish missionaries in 1769. In this paper we present pollen evidence which indicates that Erodium cicutarium, a Mediterranean annual, was well established in the Santa Barbara region several years before the founding of the first California mission at San Diego in 1769. Historical evidence shows that it took the Spanish nearly a decade to develop a livestock base in California. Disturbance by livestock was therefore not a necessary prerequisite for invasion by alien plants. Historical and macrofossil evidence indicates that E. cicutarium invaded California from Baja California.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography University of California Berkeley California, 94720, U.S.A.

Publication date: July 1, 1998


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