Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Response of rhizomes of the invasive Hedychium coronarium J. König (Zingiberaceae) to different soil moisture conditions.

Abstract

The ability to maintain high competitiveness under a wide range of conditions is common among successful invasive species. The performance of rhizomatous macrophytes in different habitats is closely related to morphological and physiological adaptations in the rhizome system. We investigated the effects of soil moisture conditions on the microstructure of rhizomes of Hedychium coronarium (Zingiberaceae), an aggressive invader of Neotropical riparian sites. We collected rhizome fragments of H. coronarium and soil samples in wet and dry regions of riparian areas dominated by this species in southeastern Brazil. We measured soil moisture content gravimetrically and rhizome fragments were fixed, sectioned, and stained for histological analysis. Only rhizomes from wet regions exhibited aerenchyma, whereas amyloplasts were much more abundant and larger in rhizomes from dry regions than in rhizomes from wet regions. Even though low starch content in wet soils indicates the occurrence of anaerobic metabolism, the presence of aerenchyma may contribute to the typically high performance of H. coronarium in waterlogged soils. Although further studies are needed to assess how responses at the rhizome level affect the competitive ability of H. coronarium, our findings show that they may play a role in the dominance of this species in Neotropical riparian sites.