Cotula alpina (Asteraceae) naturalised in the British Isles
Cotula alpina (Hook f.) Hook f. is an Australian herb that has been naturalised in Britain since the 1970s and is now locally abundant in parts of northern England and northwest Scotland. Its method of arrival is unknown but it is likely to have originated from gardens and perhaps also from wool shoddy. It appears to be spreading rapidly due to high seed production and effective dispersal by sheep, humans and vehicles and is now locally abundant on moorland tracks and in adjacent acid grassland and heather moorland managed for grouse. Due to its evergreen and mat-forming habit it can outcompete community dominants such as Agrostis capillaris and Festuca ovina in areas where levels of grazing are high. It appears to be well suited to the British climate and is therefore likely to spread into similar habitats in other regions where it could pose a threat to localized species associated with short grassland on acidic soils. Its overall abundance and ability to regenerate rapidly from seed means it is unlikely to be easily controlled or eradicated, although exclusion of grazing may help to reduce its abundance in some areas.
Copyright (c) 2020 Kevin J. Walker, Linda Robinson, Duncan Donald
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Copyright and licence: Authors (or their employers) retain their copyright in articles and images published in British & Irish Botany and are not required to assign this to the Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland (BSBI). All that BSBI requires from authors is a license to publish the article in British & Irish Botany and make it freely available to all in pdf format under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License, which also enables BSBI to reproduce components of the article in other BSBI outputs (eg. BSBI News, the BSBI website and/or the BSBI News & Views blog) for publicity purposes. The licence code can be accessed here: