Exfoliating Bark Does Not Protect Platanus occidentalis from Root-Climbing Lianas

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Lianas are structural parasites that depress growth, fertility, and survival rates of their hosts, but the magnitude to which they alter these rates differ among host species. We tested the hypothesis that Platanus occidentalis (Sycamore) would have fewer adventitiousroot climbing lianas than other tree species. We reasoned that because Sycamore possesses exfoliating bark, it would periodically shed newly-established lianas from the trunk. We investigated the distribution of lianas on the trunks of trees ≥10 cm DBH in floodplains in southwestern Ohio. Contrary to our predictions, Sycamore trees had significantly more lianas than expected at 3 of 5 sites, and significantly fewer than expected at 1 site. In contrast, Acer negundo (Boxelder) had less than half the lianas expected. We find no support for our hypothesis that bark exfoliation protects Sycamore trees from climbing lianas, and suggest possible mechanisms that might protect Box Elder from adventiti ous-root climbing lianas.



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