Comparison of the differences in the composition of ruderal flora between conventional tram tracks and managed green tram tracks in the urban ecosystem of the city of Bratislava


  • Alena Rendeková Department of Botany, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University in Bratislava, Révová 39, 811 02 Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Karol Mičieta Department of Botany, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University in Bratislava, Révová 39, 811 02 Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Michal Hrabovský Department of Botany, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University in Bratislava, Révová 39, 811 02 Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Eva Zahradníková Department of Botany, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University in Bratislava, Révová 39, 811 02 Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Martina Michalová Department of Botany, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University in Bratislava, Révová 39, 811 02 Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Ján Miškovic Department of Botany, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University in Bratislava, Révová 39, 811 02 Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Mariana Eliašová Department of Ecology, Slovak University of Agriculture, Mariánska 10, 949 01 Nitra, Slovakia
  • Dominika Ballová Department of Mathematics and Descriptive Geometry, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, Radlinského 11, 810 05 Bratislava, Slovakia


Central Europe, diversity, green infrastucture, invasive alien species, landscape planning, neophytes


Green infrastructure (GI) brings many benefits to urban ecosystems (e.g. better air and water quality) and it presents a helpful tool in the effort to reduce the consequences of climate change. Green tram tracks can be considered to be a part of GI. The presented study is focused on the comparison of the frequency of ruderal plant species, as well as species composition when comparing conventional tram tracks with green tram tracks (with planted succulents and ornamental plants) in Bratislava, Slovakia, Central Europe. This comparison also provides an insight into the changes of the flora of tram tracks over time, as we compare the results of the older research (from the years 2014–2019) with recent research on green tram tracks, which were built in Bratislava in 2020. The data were analysed by cluster analysis, Sign test and Wilcoxon two-sample test in the R 3.5.1. The results revealed significant differences in the composition of flora between conventional tram tracks and green tram tracks. In particular, the total number of species has decreased over time, as green tram tracks host fewer spontaneously growing taxa than conventional ones. The frequency of occurrence of archaeophytes and neophytes has decreased on the strict rail yard (covered by planted succulents) while on the tracksides (covered by non-succulent ornamental plants) it has increased. Green tram tracks deliver positive features to ecosystems, but may also have negative aspects because they present a pool of alien, potentially invasive plants.



Download data is not yet available.


Andreucci, M. B. 2013: Progressing green infrastructure in Europe. WIT transactions on ecology and the environment 179. The Sustainable City VIII 1: 413–422. DOI:

Bahuguna, Y. M., Gairola, S., Semwal, D. P., Uniyal, P. L. & Bhatt, A. B. 2013: Bryophytes and ecosystem. In: Gupta, R. K. & Kuma, M. (eds.): Biodiversity of lower plants. IK International Publishing House Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, India, pp. 279–296.

Banister, D. 2010: Sustainable urban development and transport – a Eurovision for 2020. Transport Reviews 20(1): 113–130. DOI:

Brandes, D. 1983: Flora und Vegetation der Bahnhöfe Mitteleuropas. Phytocoenologia 11: 31–115. DOI:

Brandes, D. 1984: Flora und Vegetation von Bahnhöfen im nördlichen Deutschland. Acta Botanica Slovaca Academiae Scientiarum Slovacae Ser A suppl 1:9–16.

Brandes, D. 1993a: Eisenbahnanlagen als Untersuchungsgegenstand der Geobotanik. Tuexenia 13: 415–444.

Brandes, D. 1993b: Zur Ruderalflora von Verkehrsanlagen in Magdeburg. Floristische Rundbriefe 27(1): 50–54.

Brandes, D. 2002a: Zur Flora des Bahnhofs Köstchach-Mauthen (Kärnten, Österreich). (accessed 4 October 2020). DOI:

Brandes, D. 2002b: Vascular flora of the Lüchow railway station (Lower Saxony, Germany). DOI: (accessed 4 October 2020)

Brandes, D. 2003: Flora und Vegetation des Hauptbahnhofs Magdeburg. (accessed 5 October 2020)

Brandes, D. 2004a: Exkursionsziel Eisenbahnbrache? Der unerwartete Artenreichtum von innerstädtischen Eisenbahnflächen. Conference: 20. Braunschweiger FloristentreffenAt: Braunschweig, Germany, 30. November 2004. (accessed 7 October 2020)

Brandes, D. 2004b: Flora des ehemaligen Bahnhofs Dömitz (Elbe). (accessed 6 October 2020)

Brandes, D. 2004c: Zur Flora des Bahnhofs Perleberg (Brandenburg). (accessed 10 November 2020)

Brandes, D. 2004d: Zur Flora des Bahnhofs Halberstadt. (accessed 18 December 2020)

Brandes, D. 2005a: Die Flora der Stadtbahn Braunschweig: Stadtbahnen als einfaches Modell für die Besiedlung eines isolierten Bahnnetzes durch Pflanzen. (accessed 12 November 2020)

Brandes, D. 2005b: Kormophytendiversität innerstädtischer Eisenbahnanlagen. Tuexenia 25: 269–284.

Brandes, D. 2008: Bibliographie zur Eisenbahnvegetation. (accessed 18 October 2020)

Burgin, S. 2016: What about biodiversity? Redefining urban sustainable management to incorporate endemic fauna with particular reference to Australia. Urban Ecosystems 19: 669–678. DOI:

Cameron, R. W. F., Brindley, P., Mears, M., McEwan, K., Ferguson, F., Sheffield, D., Jorgensen, A., Riley, J., Goodrick, J., Ballard, L. & Richardson, M. 2020: Where the wild things are! Do urban green spaces with greater avian biodiversity promote more positive emotions in humans?. Urban Ecosystems 23: 301–317. DOI:

Castro, A. V., Porrini, D. P., Lupo, S. & Cicchino, A. C. 2020: Minimal stories in Southeast Buenos Aires grasslands: carabid beetle biodiversity throughout an urban-rural gradient. Urban Ecosystems 23: 331–343. DOI:

Chocholoušková, Z. & Pyšek, P. 2003: Changes in composition and structure of urban flora over 120 years: a case study of the city of Plzeň. Flora 198(5): 366–376. DOI:

Chytrý, M., Pyšek, P., Tichý, L., Knollová, I. & Danihelka, J. 2005: Invasions by alien plants in the Czech Republic: a quantitative assessment across habitats. Preslia 77: 339–354.

Chytrý, M., Maskell, L. C., Pino, J., Pyšek, P., Vilá, M., Font, X. & Smart, S. M. 2008: Habitat invasions by alien plants: a quantitative comparison among Mediterranean, subcontinental and oceanic regions of Europe. Journal of Applied Ecology 45(2): 448–458. DOI: 1365-2664.2007.01398.x

Dehnen-Schmutz, K., Touza, J., Perrings, C. & Williamson, M. 2007: The horticultural trade and ornamental plant invasions in Britain. Conservation Biology 21: 224–231. DOI:

Denisow, B., Wrzesień, M., Mamchur, Z. & Chuba, M. 2017: Invasive flora within urban railway areas: a case study from Lublin (Poland) and Lviv (Ukraine). Acta Agrobotanica 70(4): 1727. DOI: aa.1727

Eglinton, L. R. T. 2014: Green trackway precedents study, technical report. (accessed 12 October 2020)

Eliáš, P. 1979: Zriedkavejšie rastliny železničných komunikácií na západnom Slovensku I. Biológia 34: 67–70.

Eliáš, P. 1981: Zriedkavejšie rastliny železničných komunikácií na západnom Slovensku II. Biológia 36: 73–77.

Feráková, V. & Jarolímek, I. 2011: Bratislava. In: Kelcey, J. K. & Müller, N. (eds.): Plants and habitats of European cities. Springer, New York, pp. 79–129. DOI:

Galera, H., Sudnik-Wójcikowska, B., Wierzbicka, M. & Wiłkomirski, B. 2012: Directions of changes in the flora structure in the abandoned railway areas. Ecological Questions 16: 29–39. DOI: 0003-5

Galera, H., Sudnik-Wójcikowska, B., Wierzbicka, M., Jarzyna, I. & Wiłkomirski, B. 2014: Structure of the flora of railway areas under various kinds of anthropopression. Polish Botanical Journal 59: 1–10. DOI:

Gregor, T., Bönsel, D., Starke-Ottich, I. & Zizka, G. 2012: Drivers of floristic change in large cities – a case study of Frankfurt/main (Germany). Landscape and Urban Planning 104:230–237. DOI:

Haines, W. P., & Renwick, J. A. A. 2009: Bryophytes as food: Comparative consumption and utilization of mosses by a generalist insect herbivore. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 133(3): 296–306. DOI:

Hansen, M. J. & Clevenerg, A. P. 2005: The influence of disturbance and habitat on the presence of non-native plant species along transport corridors. Biological Conservation 125(2): 249–259. DOI:

Henze, H. J. & Model, N. 2006: Ability of plant-based surface technology to improve urban water cycle and mesoclimate. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 4: 145–158. DOI:

Hohla, M., Kleesadl, G. & Melzer, H. 2000: Neues zur Flora des oberösterreichischen Bahnanlagen – mit Einbeziehung einiger grenznaher Bahnhöfe Bayerns. Beitr Naturk Oberösterreichs 9: 191–250.

Hohla, M., Kleesadl, G. & Melzer, H. 2002: Neues zur Flora der oberösterreichischen Bahnanlagen – mit Einbeziehung einiger Bahnhöfe Bayerns – Fortsetzung. Beitr Naturk Oberösterreichs 11: 507–578.

Horák, J. 2016: Suitability of biodiversity-area and biodiversity-perimeter relationships in ecology: a case study of urban ecosystems. Urban Ecosystems 19: 131–142. DOI:

Hrnčiarová, T., Izakovičová, Z., Pauditšová, E., Krnáčová, Z., Štefunková, D., Dobrovodská, M., Kalivodová, E., Moyzeová, M., Špulerová, J. & Popovičová-Waters, J. 2006: Krajinnoekologické pomery rozvoja Bratislavy. Veda, Bratislava, 315 pp.

Hulme, P. E. 2011: Addressing the threat to biodiversity from botanic gardens. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 26: 168–174. DOI:

Jiang, Y., Fan, M., Hu, R., Zhao, J. & Wu, Y. 2018: Mosses are better than leaves of vascular plants in monitoring atmospheric heavy metal pollution in urban areas. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 15(6): 1105. DOI:

Jarolímek, I., Šibík, J., Hegedüšová, K., Janišová, M., Kliment, J., Kučera, P., Májeková, J., Michálková, D., Sadloňová, J., Šibíková, J., Škodová, I., Uhlířová, J., Ujházy, K., Ujházyová, M., Valachovič, M. & Zaliberová, M. 2008: A list of vegetation units of Slovakia. In: Jarolímek, I. & Šibík, J. (eds.): Diagnostic, constant and dominant species of the higher vegetation units of Slovakia. Veda, Bratislava, pp. 295–329.

Jehlík, J. & Dostálek, J. 2008: Influence of railway transport in the south-east of Slovakia on formation of adventive flora in Central Europe. Biodiversity Research and Conservation 11–12: 27–32 .

Jehlík, V., Zaliberová, M. & Májeková, J. 2017: The influence of the eastern migration route on the Slovak flora – a comparison after 40 years. Tuexenia 37: 313–332. DOI:

Kelcey, J-K. & Müller, N. 2011: Plants and habitats of European cities. Springer, New York

Kumar, A. & Verma, A. K. 2017: Biodiversity loss and its ecological impact in India. International Journal of Biological Sciences 8(2): 156–160.

Lehan, N. E., Murphy, J. R., Thorburn, L. P. & Bradley, B. A. 2013: Accidental introductions are an important source of invasive plants in the continental United States. American Journal of Botany 100: 1287–1293. DOI:

Lososová, Z. & Simonová, D. 2008: Changes during the twentieth century in species composition of synanthropic vegetation in Moravia (Cezch Republic). Preslia 80: 291–305.

Májeková, J. & Limánek, J. 2016: Diverzita flóry železničných staníc na trati Poprad – Plaveč (východné Slovensko). Bulletin Slovenskej botanickej spoločnosti 38(1): 37–45.

Májeková, J., Jehlík, V. & Zaliberová, M. 2016: Railway stations vs. thermophilous species (example from eastern Slovakia). Thaiszia – Journal of Botany 26(2): 173–188.

Májeková, J., Letz, D. R., Slezák, M., Zaliberová, M. & Hrivnák, R. 2014: Rare and threatened vascular plants of the railways in Slovakia. Biodiversity Research and Conservation 35: 75–85.

Májeková, J., Zaliberová, M., Andrik, E., Protopopova, V., Shevera, M. & Ikhardt, P. 2020: A comparison of the flora of the Chop (Ukraine) and Čierna nad Tisou (Slovakia) border railway stations. Biologia: Online first articles. DOI:

Mayer, K., Haeuser, E., Dawson, W., Essl, F., Kreft, H., Pergl, J., Pyšek, P., Weigelt, P., Winter, M., Lenzner, B. & van Kleunen, M. 2017: Naturalization of ornamental plant species in public green spaces and private gardens. Biological Invasions 19: 3613–3627. DOI:

Medvecká, J., Jarolímek, I. & Zaliberová, M. 2009: Dynamics and distribution of neophytes in the Horná Orava Region (North Slovakia). Hacquetia 8(2): 147–58. DOI:

Medvecká, J., Kliment, J., Májeková, J., Halada, Ľ., Zaliberová, M., Gojdičová, E., Feráková, V. & Jarolímek, I. 2012: Inventory of alien species of Slovakia. Preslia 84: 257–309.

Müller, C., Kuppelwieser, H., Arx, R. & Beyeler, R. 2001: Vegetation Control on Railway Tracks and Grounds. Swiss Federal Railways (SBB/CFF/FFS), Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL), Federal Transport Office (BAV).

Niemi Å 1969: On the railway vegetation and flora between Esbo and Inga, S. Finland. Acta Botanica Fennica 83: 2–29.

Nobis, M. P., Jaeger, J. A. G. & Zimmermann, N. E. 2009: Neophyte species richness at the landscape scale under urban sprawl and climate warming. Diversity and Distributions 15(6): 928–939. DOI:

Özgüner, H. & Kendle, A. D. 2006: Public attitudes towards naturalistic versus designed landscapes in the city of Sheffield (UK). Landscape and Urban Planning 74(2): 139–157. DOI:

Pergl, J., Sádlo, J., Petřík, P., Danihelka, J., Chrtek, Jr., Hejda, M., Moravcová, L., Perglová, I., Štajerová, K. & Pyšek, P. 2016: Dark side of the fence: ornamental plants as a source of wildgrowing flora in the Czech Republic. Preslia 88: 163–184.

Pfautsch, S. & Howe, V. 2018: Green Track for Parramatta Light Rail: A Review. Western Sydney University. DOI:

Pladias – Database of the Czech Flora and Vegetation. (acessed 11 July 2021)

Prasse, P., Kunzmann, D. & Schröder, R. 2010: Entwicklung und praktische Umsetzung naturschutzfachlicher Mindestanforderungen an einen Herkunftsnachweis für gebietseigenes Wildpflanzensaatgut krautiger Pflanzen Abschlussbericht. Abschlussbericht: DBU-Projekt. (acessed 7 July 2021)

Provendier, D. & Damas, O. 2010: Urban and suburban areas covered with grass: functional importance and prospects for innovations. Fourrages 203: 205–211.

Pyšek, P., Danihelka, J., Sádlo, J., Chrtek, J Jr., Chytrý, M., Jarošík, V., Kaplan, Z., Krahulec, F., Moravcová, L., Pergl, J., Štajerová, K. & Tichý, L. 2012: Catalogue of alien plants of the Czech Republic (2nd edition): checklist update, taxonomic diversity and invasion patterns. Preslia 84: 155–255.

Pyšek, P., Manceur, A. M., Alba, C., McGregor, K. F., Pergl, J., Štajerová, K., Chytrý, M., Danihelka, J., Kartesz, J., Klimešová, J., Lučanová, M., Moravcová, L., Nishino, M., Sádlo, J., Suda, J., Tichý, L. & Kühn, I. 2015: Naturalization of central European plants in North America: species traits, habitats, propagule pressure, residence time. Ecology 96: 762–774. DOI:

R Core Team 2018: R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. DOI: (accessed 3 November 2020)

Reichard, S. H. & White, P. 2001: Horticulture as a pathway of invasive plant introductions in the United States. BioScience 51: 103–113. DOI:;2

Rendeková, A., Mičieta, K., Randáková, Z., Ballová, D., Eliašová, M. & Miškovic, J. 2020: Flora of the tram tracks of Bratislava. Urban Ecosystems 23: 875–891. DOI:

Renterghemi, T., Forssén, J., Attenborough, K., Jean, P., Defrance, J., Hornikx, M. & Kang, J. 2015: Using natural means to reduce surface transport noise during propagation outdoors. Applied Acoustics 92: 86–101. DOI:

Säumel, I., Weber, F. & Kowarik, I. 2016: Toward livable and healthy urban streets: roadside vegetation provides ecosystem services where people live and move. Environmental Science & Policy 62: 24–33. DOI:

Schreiter, H. 2010: Green tram tracks – The advantages of implementing vegetation systems in tram tracks. Final Conference Uban Track. (accessed 3 November 2020)

Schreiter, H. & Kappis, C. 2013a: Effect and function of green tracks. (accessed 9 November 2020)

Schreiter, H. & Kappis, C. 2013b: Green tram track. Effect & functions. World Green Infrastructure Congress. (accessed 2 December 2020)

Sikorska, D., Laszkiewicz, E., Krauze, K. & Sikorski, P. 2020: The role of informal green spaces in reducing inequalities in urban green space availability to children and seniors. Environmental Science & Policy 108: 144–154. DOI:

Sikorski, P., Wińska-Krysiak, M., Chormański, J., Krauzec, K., Kubackaa, K. & Sikorska, D. 2018: Low-maintenance green tram tracks as a socially acceptable solution to greening a city. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 35: 148–164. DOI:

Simonová, D. & Lososová, Z. 2008: Which factors determine plant invasions in man-made habitats in the Czech Republic? Perspectives in Plant Ecology Evolution and Systematics 10(2): 89–100.

Steckler, P., Klug, B., Gasser, F. & Wehr, W. 2012: Green track – environmental performance evaluation for 'green' tramway superstructure. Road and Rail Infrastructure II: 683–691.

Sudnik-Wójcikowska, B., Galera, H., Suska-Malawska, M., Staszewski, T. & Wiłkomirski, B. 2014: Specyfika grupy najpospolitszych gatunków we florze wybranych silnie skażonych odcinków torowisk kolejowych w północno-wschodniej Polsce (Mazury i Podlasie). Monitoring Środowiska Przyrodniczego 15: 59–73.

Suominen, J. 1969: The vegetation of railways and adjacent storage areas in Finland. Annales Botanici Fennici 6(4): 353–367.

Tret'yakova, A. S. 2010: The role of railroads in the formation of synanthropic flora in the middle Urals. Russ J Ecol 41(2): 123– 128. DOI:

The Plant List 2013: Version 1.1. (accessed 12 December 2020)

Unterweger, P. A., Schrode, N., Betz, O. 2017: Urban nature: perception and acceptance of alternative green space management and the change of awareness after provision of environmental information. A chance for biodiversity protection. Urban Science 1(3): 24. DOI:

Vasas, V., Magura, T., Jordán, F. & Tóthmérész, B. 2009: Graph theory in action: evaluating planned highway tracks based on connectivity measures. Landscape Ecology 24: 581–586. DOI:

Wagner, I., Krauze, K. & Zalewski, M. 2013: Błękitne aspekty zielonej infrastruktury. Zrównoważony Rozwój – Zastosowania 4: 145–155.

Walker, C. M., Colton Flynn, K., Ovando-Montejo, G. A., Ellis, E. A. & Frazier, A. E. 2017: Does demolition improve biodiversity? Linking urban green space and socioeconomic characteristics to avian richness in a shrinking city. Urban Ecosystems 20: 1191–1202. DOI:

Wierzbicka, M., Galera, H., Sudnik-Wójcikowska, B. & Wiłkomirski, B. 2014: Geranium robertianum L., plant form adapted to the specific conditions along railway: “railway-wandering plant”. Plant Systematics and Evolution 300: 973–985. DOI:

Wiłkomirski, B., Galera, H., Sudnik-Wójcikowska, B., Staszewski, T. & Malawska, M. 2012: Railway tracks – habitat conditions, contamination, floristic settlement – a review. Environment and Natural Resources Research 1(2): 86–95. DOI:

Williams, N. S. G., Schwartz, M. W., Vesk, P. A., McCarthy, M. A., Hahs, A. K, Clemants, S. E., Corlett, R. T., Duncan, R. P., Norton, B. A., Thompson, K. & McDonnell, M. J. 2009: A conceptual framework for predicting the effects of urbanenvironments on floras. Journal of Ecology 97: 4–9. DOI:

Woźnica, P., Urbisz, A., Urbisz, A. & Franiel, I. 2016: Tram tracks as specific anthropogenic habitats for the growth of plants. PeerJ Preprints 4: e2606v1. (accessed 2 December 2020)

Wrzesień, M. & Denisow, B. 2017: Factors responsible for the distribution of invasive plant species in the surroundings of railway areas. A case study from SE Poland. Biologia 72(11): 1275–1284. DOI: 10.1515/biolog-2017-0146

Wrzesień, M., Denisow, B., Mamchur, Z., Chuba, M. & Resler, I. 2016: Composition and structure of the flora in intra-urban railway areas. Acta Agrobotanica 69(3): 1666. DOI:

Zaliberová, M. & Májeková, J. 2014: Poznámky k prvému nálezu Geranium purpureum Vill. na Slovensku a rozšírenie druhu na železničných staniciach Záhoria (západné Slovensko). Bulletin Slovenskej botanickej spoločnosti 36(2): 223–232.

Zube, E. H. 1995: Greenways and the US National Park system. Landscape and Urban Planning 33: 17–25. DOI:




How to Cite

Rendeková, A., Mičieta, K., Hrabovský, M., Zahradníková , E., Michalová, M., Miškovic, J., Eliašová, M. and Ballová, D. (2021) “Comparison of the differences in the composition of ruderal flora between conventional tram tracks and managed green tram tracks in the urban ecosystem of the city of Bratislava”, Hacquetia, 21(1), pp. 73–88. Available at: (Accessed: 28 May 2022).