Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Functional traits plasticity of the invasive herb Argemone ochroleuca sweet in different arid habitats.

Abstract

Understanding the strategies and mechanisms of invasive species could guide their control and management especially in arid ecosystems. This study compares the vegetative and reproductive functional traits of the invasive Mexican poppy (Argemone ochroleuca), in seven habitat types, in southwestern Saudi Arabia. The results showed that the aboveground phenological attributes such as plant height, leaf area, and leaf dry mass attained the highest values in the wadi channels, whereas these attributes attained the lowest values in the mountain ranges. Maximum specific leaf area, root parameters, and all reproductive traits were recorded in the abandoned fields. In contrast to all other habitats, populations from abandoned fields had a greater investment of resources in belowground structures, while the population growing in the wadi channels and mountain ranges habitat allocated more energy to vegetative parts. The plasticity in vegetative and reproductive resource allocation in A. ochroleuca is an important mechanism in determining its colonizing ability in different habitat types and expanding the distribution range. The present data of the functional traits of A. ochroleuca agree with the resource fluctuation hypothesis, where the plant flourished in the abandoned fields that attained the highest values of organic matter and nutrients. Therefore, the restoration of these disturbed habitats could improve the resistance toward invasion by this noxious weed.