Valentina V. Fateryga, PhD, Senior Researcher, T.I. Vyazemsky Karadag Scientific Station – Nature Reserve of RAS; 298188, Russia, Feodosiya, Kurortnoye settlement, Nauki Str., 24; e-mail:
Nataliya A. Bagrikova, Dr. Sci., Head of the Department of Nature Conservation, The Order of the Red Banner of Labour Nikitsky Botanical Gardens – National Scientific Centre of RAS; 298648, Russia, Yalta, Nikita settlement; e-mail:

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Fateryga V.V., Bagrikova N.A. 2017. Invasion of Opuntia humifusa and O. phaeacantha (Cactaceae) into plant communities of the Karadag Nature Reserve. Nature Conservation Research 2(4) DOI: 10.24189/ncr.2017.011

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The results of a study of Opuntia humifusa and O. phaeacantha naturalised in the Karadag Nature Reserve (southeastern part of the Crimean Peninsula) are presented. There, the largest coenopopulations of Opuntia plants are confined to the «biostation» territory (bordering with the park, administrative buildings and housing estate). Twelve localities were described in the Karadag Reserve. These differ by phytocoenotic characteristics, area and floristic composition. Seven localities include only O. humifusa plants; four ones include only O. phaeacantha individuals; and both the species are present on the twelfth locality. The total number of individuals of each species and ontogenetic structure of the population were studied in each locality. The total number of O. humifusa individuals in the Karadag Reserve is more than 600 plants within the «biostation» territory, while the total number of O. phaeacantha plants is about 400 individuals. Studying of the plant communities has been carried out according to the Braun-Blanquet method. Opuntia plants form derivate communities within degraded steppes, phryganoid-steppes, and semi-desert badland phytocoenoses almost at all studied localities. A significant number of synanthropic species (including alien plants) was found within these communities. Opuntia plants are able to self-reproduce predominantly vegetatively. Self-seeding reproduction occurs less frequently. Both species can be considered as invasive plants because they have a high adaptive capacity.


alien plants, Crimea, Karadag Nature Reserve, Opuntia, phytoinvasion, plant communities

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Received: 08.03.2017

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