From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

An archaeophyte is a plant species which is non-native to a geographical region, but which was an introduced species in "ancient" times, rather than being a modern introduction. Those arriving after are called neophytes. In Britain, archaeophytes are considered to be those species first introduced prior to 1492, when Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World and the Columbian Exchange began.[1]

In some cases, introduced species, whether archaeophytes or neophytes, may have been native species before the ice ages, which extirpated vast numbers of plant species.[2][3] Rhododendron ponticum is an example of a species which recolonised central and northern Europe following the Ice Ages.[4]

Archaeophytes are often cultivated species, transported deliberately by humans, but are also often weeds of cultivation, spread accidentally with grain. Archaeophytes in the United Kingdom include sweet chestnut, wheat, field poppy, flixweed, red valerian, ground elders, soapwort, small toadflax, good king henry and cornflower.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Preston, Christopher D.; Pearman, David A.; Hall, Allan R. (1 July 2004). "Archaeophytes in Britain". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 145 (3): 257–294. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2004.00284.x. ISSN 0024-4074. Archived from the original on 6 March 2018. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  2. ^ The Impact of History
  3. ^ WLGF - What is the relative value for wildlife of native and non-native plants in our gardens?
  4. ^ Veröffentlichungen des Tiroler Landesmuseums Ferdinandeum - Rhododendron ponticum L. var. sebinense (SORDELLI) SORDELLI in the Late Pleistocene flora of Hötting, Northern Calcareous Alps: witness of a climate warmer than today?
  5. ^ Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society - Archaeophytes in Britain