Seedling defoliation, plant growth and flowering potential in native- and invasive-range Plantago lanceolata populations

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2012
Authors:Hanley, ME
Journal:Weed Research
Date Published:2012
ISBN Number:1365-3180
Keywords:Biological invasions, cotyledon, enemy release, Exotic plants, Herbivory, invasive weed, Phenotypic plasticity, Plantago, Plantago lanceolata, ribwort plantain, tolerance

Hanley ME (2012). Seedling defoliation, plant growth and flowering potential in native- and invasive-range Plantago lanceolata populations. Weed Research52, 252–259.Summary The plastic response of weeds to new environmental conditions, in particular the likely relaxation of herbivore pressure, is considered vital for successful colonisation and spread. However, while variation in plant anti-herbivore resistance between native- and introduced-range populations is well studied, few authors have considered herbivore tolerance, especially at the seedling stage. This study examines variation in seedling tolerance in native (European) and introduced (North American) Plantago lanceolata populations following cotyledon removal at 14 days old. Subsequent effects on plant growth were quantified at 35 days, along with effects on flowering potential at maturity. Cotyledon removal reduced early growth for all populations, with no variation between introduced- or native-range plants. Although more variable, the effects of cotyledon loss on flowering potential were also unrelated to range. The likelihood that generalist seedling herbivores are common throughout North America may explain why no difference in seedling tolerance was apparent. However, increased flowering potential in plants from North American P. lanceolata populations was observed. As increased flowering potential was not lost, even after severe cotyledon damage, the manifestation of phenotypic plasticity in weeds at maturity may nonetheless still be shaped by plasticity in the ability to tolerate herbivory during seedling establishment.

Short Title:Weed Research
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