Leaf and Root Extracts of the Invasive Shrub, Lonicera maackii, Inhibit Seed Germination of Three Herbs with no Autotoxic Effects

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In addition to effects mediated by resource competition, some invasive plants may impact surrounding vegetation by secreting compounds that are directly inhibitory to growth. Lonicera maackii, an invasive Asian shrub of forests and open areas in eastern and midwestern North America, has devastating effects on understory vegetation, some of which persist even after this shrub is removed. In this study, we explored the potential of aqueous extracts of the leaves and roots of this plant to inhibit seed germination of Impatiens capensis, Alliaria petiolata, Arabidopsis thaliana, and L. maackii in Petri dish bioassays. Both L. maackii root and leaf extracts significantly decreased germination in the three herb species. This inhibitory effect generally increased with increasing extract concentration and was more pronounced with application of leaf extract than root extract. However, when the same extracts were applied to seeds of L. maackii itself, germination was delayed in some cases, but was not significantly reduced by the end of the experiment. Germination of L. maackii seeds even reached significantly higher levels in some extract treatments than in no-extract controls. This implies that L. maackii can successfully inhibit the germination of other plants with few autotoxic effects and may even promote the germination of its own seeds.



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