Survey of the Solidago canadensis L. morphological traits and essential oil production: aboveground biomass growth and abundance of the invasive goldenrod appears to be reciprocally enhanced within the invaded stands.
Canadian goldenrod is one of the most widespread invasive neophytes in Europe with proven ecological and environmental consequences for the invaded plots. The morphological traits and productive features survey can offer a better insight view into the S. canadensis population ecology and the dynamic of its aboveground biomass growth. Equally, it can serve as a foundation for a balanced management proposal, with the aim of keeping an acceptable degree of Canadian goldenrod invasion. In the study, 600 specimens, collected at various phenological phases, from the twelve sampling stands in the eastern Slovakia, were processed. The obtained data were related to the degree of invasion, pH, soil moisture, overall stand area, and measure of interventions. Plants from the stands with a mild degree of goldenrod invasion (< 50%), lower pH, and higher stand area were significantly lower and lighter; had a significantly lower number and weight of leaves; significantly shorter and lighter stems, in comparison to the plants from the stands with a heavy degree of invasion (> 50%); a higher pH; and a smaller area. These plants also showed smaller essential oil productivity rate, and they achieved the growth peak a significantly later. Conversely, as the stand area decreased, and the S. canadensis % representation and soil reaction increased, goldenrods became significantly taller and heavier, with a higher number of leaves and a higher essential oil productivity rate. Canadian goldenrod shows, somewhat, a cyclical, self-growth-reinforcing feedback: the consecutive increase of the goldenrod's aboveground biomass leads to an increase of its relative % abundance within the invaded stands. Consequently, the increase of the goldenrod's relative % abundance leads to the plants aboveground biomass consecutive growth, and so on.