Learn how to recognize the invading plants

To parents and educators:

This activity intends to make children get to know some of the invasive species that there are in Portugal.

But what are invasive species?

We call invasive species plants, animals and microorganisms that come from elsewhere in the World (they’re exotic) and that, without our help, they can spread and cause problems, for example, in the environment that surrounds us, on other species or our health

After arriving in a new place, the invading specie may even eliminate some of the animals and plants that have always been there (who we call native). They may do this by occupying their place, eating their food or, in some cases, bringing diseases that kill the natives. Many times, the problems that the invading species cause are grave and large amounts of money are necessary to solve these problems.

Many people don’t recognize the invading species, which makes the fight against them more difficult. When they perceive the species and the problems they are causing, they are already very spread out and eliminating them is very troublesome and costly; and sometimes even impossible.


So, this is the challenge:

Learn to know some of the invasive plants that you can find in Portugal! Be alert!


You can also use the pictures to teach friends and family how to recognize these species!´


Necessary material:

– printer

– paper

– colouring pencils or pens

– a lot of imagination!


How to do it:

Click on he pictures below to open the drawings, print them and have fun colouring them in.

acacia_longifolia ficha acacia_melanoxylon (59)small Oxalys pes-caprae (1) Ipomoea indica (3) carpobrotus-edulis (4) Tradescantia fluminensis (23)small16por9 Ailanthus altissima (73)small Hakea sericea (13)small Eichhornia crassipes (8) acacia_dealbata Cortaderia selloana (9) robinia_pseudoacacia (9)

Send your best pictures to invader@ci.uc.pt or:

Elizabete Marchante, Centro de Ecologia Funcional

Departamento de Ciências da Vida

Universidade de Coimbra

Apartado 3046

3001-401 Coimbra

This post is also available in: Portuguese (Portugal)