Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems

Differential responses to allelopathic compounds released by the invasive Acacia dealbata Link (Mimosaceae) indicate stimulation of its own seed

Paula Lorenzo A , Eva Pazos-Malvido A , Manuel J. Reigosa A and Luís González A B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Departamento de Bioloxía Vexetal e Ciencia do Solo, Universidade de Vigo, 36310 Vigo, Spain.

B Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Journal of Botany 58(7) 546-553
Submitted: 20 April 2010  Accepted: 25 August 2010   Published: 27 October 2010


Invasion by exotic species constitutes a major threat to natural ecosystems. One of the most invasive species of current concern in Europe is Acacia dealbata Link (Mimosaceae), the expansion of which is reducing populations of native species, and hence biodiversity. To investigate the potential involvement of allelopathic mechanisms in this process, we evaluated the germination and seedling growth performance of Lactuca sativa L. (Compositae), Zea mays L. (Gramineae), Dactylis glomerata L. (Gramineae), Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. (Cruciferae) and A. dealbata, in the presence of mixtures of throughfall and litter leachate and of aqueous soil extracts collected under A. dealbata at different times of the year. Each test species responded differently to the solutions being assayed suggesting that A. dealbata allelochemicals may affect a variety of physiological growth parameters. In most cases the observed effects were stimulatory rather than inhibitory, which may have long-term deleterious effects on native plant populations since premature growth during periods of poor resources can be detrimental. Interestingly, increased radical growth of A. dealbata was detected with either extract suggesting a positive autoalleloapthy effect.


We would like to particularly thank the contribution of two anonymous reviewers who, with their comments, have enriched and improved the original manuscript. We thank the Xunta de Galicia for support of this work under projects PGIDIT05RAG31001PR and 08MDS033310PR and for a postgraduate grant to Paula Lorenzo, and the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science for a postgraduate grant to Eva Pazos-Malvido.


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