Stepwise discriminant function analysis was used to compare the morphological traits of 15 exotic and 35 native herbaceous species occuring within an area of long-grazed grassland on the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales. Exotic graminoids were shorter, had less persistent litter and a shorter flowering period than native graminoids. Exotic forbs had deeper leaf litter and a longer flowering period than native forbs. Most exotic forbs had a rosette or a prostrate habit, with oblanceolate or lanceolate leaves, and undefined dispersal or pappus. For graminoids, trait differences reflected the predominance of the annual life-history within exotics, while differences between exotic and native forbs were realted to habit. There were two main groups of exotics at the site: (i) annual graminoids and (ii) forbs with a rosette or prostrate habit. Exotics possessing low growing habits and mechanisms to either avoid or tolerate nutrient and moisture stress were able to invade and persist under the grazed resource-poor conditions investigated in this study.
15th Australian Weeds Conference: Managing weeds in a changing climate, Proceedings of the 15th Australian Weeds Conference (Adelaide, SA 24-28 September, 2006) p. 235-238