Invasive Chromolaena odorata species specifically affects growth of its co-occurring weeds.
Plant-plant interaction is essential to weed invasion success and is related to impacts on the environment. To understand interactions of the well-known invasive plant siamweed (Chromolaena odorata) and its neighbors (exotic Praxelis clematidea and native cadillo) in South China, and their competitive mechanisms above- and belowground, a multicultivation experiment was conducted. Competitive indices, plant morphological traits, soil nutrient contents, enzyme activities, and microbial biomass were measured. Competitive balance index and morphological traits revealed balanced competition between P. clematidea and siamweed, and suppressive effect of siamweed on cadillo. In coculture of siamweed and P. clematidea, the branch length of siamweed slightly lengthened, while the branch number of P. clematidea increased compared with their respective monocultures accordingly. Overall impacts of the two invaders on soil properties were near averages of their single impacts. In coculture of siamweed and cadillo, siamweed was more competitive in both light and nutrient capture; soil urease activity and acid phosphatase activity were magnified and mitigated compared with the averages of those in their respective monocultures, respectively. The species-specific results of siamweed competing with its co-occurring weeds would contribute to a better understanding of mechanism in synergistic effect of siamweed with the other invasive plants.