Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Biomass allocation of Vincetoxicum rossicum and V. nigrum in contrasting competitive environments.

Abstract

Premise: Understanding how drought and biomass allocation patterns influence competitive ability can help identify traits related to invasiveness and guide management. Vincetoxicum nigrum and V. rossicum are increasingly problematic herbaceous perennial vines in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada. Methods: Using a greenhouse experiment, we investigated how biomass allocation and competition intensity of Vincetoxicum spp. responded to four competitive regimes at two levels of soil water availability in the presence of conspecific or congeneric neighbors. Results: Soil moisture was the most important influence on growth and biomass allocation. Vincetoxicum nigrum had a greater capacity for growth and reproduction than V. rossicum, especially under drought. Drought reduced the probability of reproduction for V. rossicum. Vincetoxicum rossicum had a higher root-to-shoot ratio than V. nigrum under adequate soil moisture. This difference more than doubled under drought. Under interspecific competition, V. nigrum maximized its biomass, while V. rossicum limited aboveground growth and reproduction. Root-only competition increased shoot and root biomass relative to shoot-only competition. The effects of root and shoot competition were additive under interspecific competition, but interacted under intraspecific competition (negative interaction under drought and positive interaction under sufficient soil moisture). Conclusions: Management strategies targeting mixed populations of V. rossicum and V. nigrum are most important under ample water availability. Under drought conditions, strategies focused on V. nigrum should effectively limit Vincetoxicum growth and seed reproduction. Phenotypic plasticity and the positive competition intensity associated with drought in monocultures may contribute to drought resistance in these invasive species.