The successful spread of invasive plants is often linked to a diverse gene pool that facilitates local adaptation to variable environmental conditions: but what about clonal plants? Riis et al. study three non-native, clonally reproducing macrophytes, Egeria densa, Elodea canadensis and Lagarosiphon major, and find that field populations display remarkably little genetic variation and show little interaction between habitat conditions and plant morphological characteristics. The results strongly suggest that invasive clonal aquatic plants adapt to a wide range of habitats in introduced areas by phenotypic plasticity rather than local adaptation.
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