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Comparing susceptibility of eastern and western US grasslands to competition and allelopathy from spotted knapweed [Centaurea stoebe L. subsp. micranthos (Gugler) Hayek]

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Centaurea stoebe L. subsp. micranthos is native to Eurasia and is invasive in the western portion of the US. Negative impacts of C. stoebe micranthos present in the eastern US have not been recorded. In this study, we examine the effects of C. stoebe micranthos on species diversity on an eastern grassy bald, compare the competitive abilities of plant species from eastern and western grasslands against C. stoebe micranthos, and assess the production of allelopathic compounds in an eastern population of C. stoebe micranthos. Field observations indicated that increasing C. stoebe micranthos abundance was not associated with decreasing abundance or diversity of species. In a greenhouse experiment, C. stoebe micranthos growing with plant species from an eastern grassland were smaller than C. stoebe micranthos growing with species from western grasslands, suggesting that species from the eastern grassland are more competitive against C. stoebe micranthos. We found no evidence that the eastern population of C. stoebe micranthos has allelopathic effects. While the invasion dynamics may change over time, the possibility that C. stoebe micranthos may never become invasive in the studied grassy bald should be weighed when considering control measures here and throughout the eastern US. This study illustrates that invasion dynamics can vary geographically and that land managers need relevant information to gauge an appropriate and economical response.
Reinhart, Kurt O. , Rinella, Matt
Includes references
Plant ecology 2011 May, v. 212, no. 5
Springer Netherlands
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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