Sources and modes of action of invasive knotweed allelopathy : the effects of leaf litter and trained soil on the germination and growth of native plants

  • Invasive knotweeds, native to Eastern Asia, are among the most dominant plant invaders of European and North American temperate ecosystems. Recent studies indicate that one cause of this dominance might be allelopathy, but the possible sources and modes of action of this allelopathy are insufficiently understood. Here, we asked whether the invasive knotweed Fallopia × bohemica can exert allelopathic effects on native plants also through its leaf litter, or through persistent soil contaminants, and whether these affect the germination or growth of native plants. In a germination experiment with nine native species neither litter leachate, an aqueous extract of knotweed leaves added to the soil, nor trained soil with a history of Fallopia pre-cultivation suppressed the germination or early growth of natives. A mesocosm study with experimental native communities showed that the presence of F. × bohemica, although not a dominant in these communities, caused significant shifts of life-history strategy in two dominant natives, and that similar effects could be elicited through litter leachates or trained soil alone. However, there were hardly any effects on the biomass of natives. Our study indicates that knotweed allelopathy acts on the growth rather than germination of natives, and that soil contamination through persistent allelochemicals may not be a significant problem in habitat restoration. It also shows that allelopathic effects can sometimes be subtle changes in life-history and allocation patterns of the affected species.

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Author:Madalin Parepa, Urs Schaffner, Oliver BossdorfORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):NeoBiota
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2013/10/31
Date of first Publication:2012/05/16
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2013/10/31
Tag:Biological invasions; Fallopia × bohemica; litter leachate; plant-plant interactions; soil training
Page Number:16
First Page:15
Last Page:30
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 58 Pflanzen (Botanik) / 580 Pflanzen (Botanik)
Sammlungen:Sammlung Biologie / Sondersammelgebiets-Volltexte
Zeitschriften / Jahresberichte:NeoBiota / NeoBiota 13
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 3.0