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Seed bank longevity and age to reproductive maturity of Calotropis procera (Aiton) W.T. Aiton in the dry tropics of northern Queensland

Bebawi, Faiz F. and Campbell, Shane D. and Mayer, Robert J. (2015) Seed bank longevity and age to reproductive maturity of Calotropis procera (Aiton) W.T. Aiton in the dry tropics of northern Queensland. Rangeland Journal, 37 (3). pp. 239-247.

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Article Link(s): http://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/RJ14130

Abstract

Understanding the reproductive biology of Calotropis procera (Aiton) W.T. Aiton, an invasive weed of northern Australia, is critical for development of effective management strategies. Two experiments are reported on. In Experiment 1 seed longevity of C. procera seeds, exposed to different soil type (clay and river loam), pasture cover (present and absent) and burial depth (0, 2.5, 10 and 20 cm) treatments were examined. In Experiment 2 time to reach reproductive maturity was studied. The latter experiment included its sister species, C. gigantea (L.) W.T. Aiton, for comparison and two separate seed lots were tested in 2009 and 2012 to determine if exposure to different environmental conditions would influence persistence. Both seed lots demonstrated a rapid decline in viability over the first 3 months and declined to zero between 15 and 24 months after burial. In Experiment 1, longevity appeared to be most influenced by rainfall patterns and associated soil moisture, burial depth and soil type, but not the level of pasture cover. Experiment 2 showed that both C. procera and C. gigantea plants could flower once they had reached an average height of 85 cm. However, they differed significantly in terms of basal diameter at first flowering with C. gigantea significantly smaller (31 mm) than C. procera (45 mm). On average, C. gigantea flowered earlier (125 days vs 190 days) and set seed earlier (359 days vs 412 days) than C. procera. These results suggest that, under similar conditions to those that prevailed in the present studies, land managers could potentially achieve effective control of patches of C. procera in 2 years if they are able to kill all original plants and treat seedling regrowth frequently enough to prevent it reaching reproductive maturity. This suggested control strategy is based on the proviso that replenishment of the seed bank is not occurring from external sources (e.g. wind and water dispersal).

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Keywords:calotrope, giant rubber bush, reproductive maturity, rubber bush, seed persistence, seed viability.
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Plants
Deposited On:30 Jun 2015 07:03
Last Modified:30 Jun 2015 07:03

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