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Allelopathic Effects of Shrubs of the Sand Pine Scrub on Pines and Grasses of the Sandhills

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Aqueous leachates prepared monthly from foliage of eight species and from litter of two of them from Florida's sand pine scrub community were tested for potential inhibitory activity on four receiver species: three grasses native to Florida's sandhill community (Andropogon gyrans, Schizachyrium scoparium, and Leptochloa dubia) and commercial lettuce (Lactuca sativa). Seed germination of the grasses was inhibited significantly by all ten leachates. Inhibition varied with month of preparation of the samples and was highly correlated with monthly precipitation. However, only two of ten leachates significantly inhibited radicle growth of the grasses, with a seasonal peak in late spring before the rainy season. Leachates from species dominant on open scrub sites were much more inhibitory than those from mature scrub. Lettuce seed germination was inhibited significantly, whereas radicle length was stimulated; neither effect exhibited significant seasonal variation. Andropogon gyrans watered with runoff from leaf misting of potted Ceratiola ericoides and Conradina canescens had significantly lower dry weights than control seedlings receiving distilled water. In a field transplant experiment designed to control resource competition, seedling pines (P. palustris, P. elliottii, P. clausa) and plugs of wiregrass (Aristida stricta) grew more slowly at scrub sites than at sandhill sites. Chemicals released from the shrubs may deter pines and grasses that otherwise provide fuel for surface fires which cause shrub mortality. For. Sci. 34(3):592-605.

Keywords: Pinus clausa; Pinus elliottii; Pinus palustris; fire

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Associate Professor, Department of Botany, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803

Publication date: September 1, 1988

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