Competitive and allelopathic effects of garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) on American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius).
The purpose of this study was to test competitive and allelopathic effects of invasive garlic mustard on American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) seedlings under natural conditions. For comparative purposes, we also examined the potential effects of the native striped violet (Viola striata). In order to partition effects of resource competition and chemical suppression via allelopathy, field soils were amended with activated carbon or left unamended. Activated carbon positively affected ginseng growth as well as biomass of competitors. Ginseng mortality tended to increase with garlic mustard presence, though activated carbon alleviated this response. Garlic mustard had no significant effect on ginseng seedling growth, while striped violet suppressed shoot length in the absence of activated carbon. Our results showed a surprising effect of activated carbon on plant growth, a potential allelopathic effect of the native striped violet and suggest that newly invaded ginseng populations with low densities of garlic mustard may be able to withstand its effects. However, recruitment within invaded populations may decline.