Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Performance of the invasive Eupatorium catarium and Ageratum conyzoides in comparison with a common native plant under varying levels of light and moisture.

Abstract

Invasive alien plants are often found to be more plastic than the natives, which enable the former to outperform the native plants under some, or in a wide range, of environmental conditions. In addition, their performance under non-competitive conditions might not predict their performance under competitive conditions. The performance of the recent invader, Eupatorium catarium, was compared with that of a historical invader, Ageratum conyzoides, and a common native plant, Vernonia cinerea, under varying levels of light and moisture with and without competition. When grown alone and in response to decreases in light levels, E. catarium and V. cinerea were more plastic in their root-to-shoot ratio than A. conyzoides, while V. cinerea was more plastic in its specific leaf area (SLA) than E. catarium and A. conyzoides. Eupatorium catarium was more plastic than A. conyzoides and V. cinerea in the SLA in response to the drought treatment. However, these differences in trait plasticities did not lead to a difference in biomass production under each light and moisture treatment combination. When E. catarium was competing with either A. conyzoides or V. cinerea, the interacting species also did not differ in their biomass production and relative interaction intensity under each light and moisture treatment combination. These results indicate that the two invasive species and the native plant do not differ in their performance under relatively low soil nutrient conditions, regardless of the moisture, light and competition treatments that are imposed. Therefore, E. catarium and A. conyzoides cannot outperform V. cinerea under low nutrient conditions, regardless of the light and water availability.