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The adaptive capacity of alien and endangered plants in China

Cite this dataset

Xin, Zhiming; Zhou, Quanlai (2022). The adaptive capacity of alien and endangered plants in China [Dataset]. Dryad.


The datasets used in the article includes of “Endangered plants.csv” and “Alien plants.csv”. The dataset of “Endangered plants” contains data from the list of the National Key Protected Wild Plants (the first and second batches) officially approved by the State Council, 1898 plants were recorded in the information system of the Chinese Rare and Endangered Plants. The dataset of “Alien plants” contains data from The Checklist of the Chinese Invasive Plants and 562 alien plants were recorded.

Diaspore morphological traits were collected from database of the Flora of China ( Diaspore Information Database from Royal Botanic Gardens (, and the PLANTS Database of the United States (

Each dataset includes 29 columns: ID, Species, Family, Dispersal strategy, The number of dispersal strategies of a plant, Reproductive mode, The number of reproductive modes of a plant, Life form, Habitat type, The number of habitats of a plant, Distribution scale, Score 1-16, Adaptive capacity to stressful environments, and Adaptive capacity to disturbed environments.

Dispersal strategy includes: autochory (barochory, ballistic dispersal, and blastochory); anemochory (macrogeochory, meteor-anemochory, trichometeorochory, and pterometeorochory); hydrochory (bythisochory, zoohydrochory, and nautohydrochory); zoochory (endozoochory, epizoochory, frugivory, graminivory, granivory, and myrmecochory); and anthropochory (agochory, ethelochory, speirochory, and anthropochory). The number of dispersal strategies of a plant includes: one or two modes, three modes, four modes, and more than four modes. The reproductive mode includes: 1) spores or seeds; 2) ramets; 3) cutting, layering, or grafting; 4) rhizome; and 5) budding. The number of reproductive modes of a plant includes: one mode, two modes, three modes, and more than three modes. Life form includes: annual and biennial, perennial, vine, shrub, and arbor. Habitat type includes: 1) deserts or desert steppes; 2) steppes or dry hillsides; 3) waysides, near villages or wastelands; 4) farm lands; 5) meadow steppes or grasslands; 6) exposed rocks and crevices or tree tops; 7) forest edges, shrublands, or jungles; 8) rivers, lake banks, or benches; 9) marshes, wet meadows, or paddy fields and 10) in water. The number of plant habitats includes: one type, two types, three types, and more than three types. Distribution scale county scale (< 5 × 104 km2), municipal scale (5–35 × 104 km2), provincial scale or autonomous regions (35–150 × 104 km2), and national scale (>150 × 104 km2). Score 1-16 are scores of in corresponding indicator assessed in stressful and disturbed environment, respectively. Adaptive capacity to stressful and disturbed environments are total scores of plants assessed to stressful and disturbed environments.


In the study, we collected plant information, including dispersal strategy, the number of dispersal strategies of a plant, distribution scale, life form, habitat type, the number of habitats of a plant, reproductive mode, and the number of reproductive modes of a plant to assess the adaptive capacity of alien and endangered plants in disturbed and stressful environments in China using the analytic hierarchy process (AHP). Our aim was to answer why the habitat area of alien plants tends to expand continually whereas that of endangered plants maintains or shrinks.

Usage notes

The readme file contains an explanation of each of the variables in the datasets and their units. Information on how the measurements were done can be found in the associated manuscript referenced above.


Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China, Award: 2021YFD1400303

National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 3197173

National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 41601588

Science and Technology Plan Project of Liaoning Province, Award: 2020JH1/10300006

National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 2019-MS-340