Arid land invasive weed Salvia verbenaca L. (wild sage): investigation into seedling emergence, soil seedbank, allelopathic effects, and germination.
Salvia verbenaca L., wild sage (Lamiaceae) is native to western and southern Europe. In Australia S. verbenaca is considered an environmental weed with high invasiveness often growing on disturbed sites: tracks, roadsides and around earth tanks. Little is known about the ecology of this invasive species in Australia. Therefore, our objectives in this study were to determine: (i) seedling emergence in relation to sowing depth, (ii) density of soil seed bank, (iii) allelopathic effects, (iv) favourable conditions for seed germination of three month old and nine years old seeds, and (v) seed longevity. Of four burial depths, only surface sown seeds germinated and survived. From the soil seedbank, S. verbenaca density was 343±198 m-2. For the allelopathic effects of S. verbenaca, neither the extract nor the leachate inhibited germination of L. sativa; however, the growth of the radicle of seedlings was shown to decrease. Germination was highest at 20°C under 12 h light/12 h dark. Burial of seeds in the field prior to germination reduced viability over time. Germination of three month old seed was significantly less than nine year old seed. In conclusion, it is clear that S. verbenaca functions as a casual weed in arid and semi-arid environments of Australia. Understanding the plants' ecological characteristics in this study will help us take appropriate control measures for this species.