Phytotoxic effects of invasive Ageratina adenophora on two native subtropical shrubs in Nepal.
The response of native plants to allelopathic interference of invasive species may differ from species to species. In this study, the phytotoxic effects of Ageratina adenophora were tested on two native shrubs (Osbeckia stellata and Elsholtzia blanda) of Nepal. Both the shrubs were grown in pots under treatments of A. adenophora fresh leaves and root leachates, and litter. Then, the seedling length and biomass were compared among the treatments. The results show that A. adenophora litter has stimulatory effects but the leachates from fresh leaves and root are phytotoxic to the growth and development of native shrubs. Infrared Spectroscopy (IR) analysis confirmed the presence of O-H (Hydroxyl), N-H (Amines), C≡C (Alkynes), and C-H stretching (Aromatic) or C-O-C stretching (Ethers) in the leachates representing harmful allelochemicals. The invaded soil by A. adenophora had low pH and a high amount of organic matter, total nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium than the uninvaded soil. The results indicate that the native O. stellata and E. blanda are harmed by A. adenophora in nature by leaching of allelochemicals and probably by reducing the soil pH. Overall, this study has provided valuable insights regarding the effects of A. adenophora invasion on native shrubs and revealing the potential mechanism of its invasiveness.