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Spread pathways of the invasive weed Parthenium hysterophorus L.: The potential for water dispersal

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Mao, R., Nguyen, T. L. T., Osunkoya, O. O. and Adkins, S. W. (2019) Spread pathways of the invasive weed Parthenium hysterophorus L.: The potential for water dispersal. Austral Ecology, 44 (7). pp. 1111-1122. ISSN 1442-9985

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1111/aec.12774

Publisher URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/aec.12774


Abstract Parthenium hysterophorus L. (Asteraceae) utilises multiple mechanisms to facilitate its dispersal. It has been speculated that the cypsela, the propagule of this species, can be dispersed by water under varying environmental conditions. Four experiments were conducted to test this hypothesis, using simulated shaking and immersion to test floating ability and viability of the propagule in water. The influence of the acidity of the immersion medium on cypsela viability was also examined. Our results revealed that the freshly harvested cypselae could float on river water for at least 20 days, although around 80% sank within a week if moderate or severe turbulence was applied. Sinkage was observed to be more rapid in naked seeds (within a day) than in cypsela (within a week). On still water surfaces, germination occurred within a week but extended to 1.5 weeks under turbulent conditions due to sinkage. In river water, initial germination of floating cypselae was greater (70%) under illuminated conditions as compared to dark conditions (20%). The viability of immersed cypselae was found to remain high in distilled water for 45 days, when immersion was in cool conditions (10 or 15°C). However, in moderate (20 and 24°C) or warm (25 and 30°C) conditions, the rate of viability loss increased, and at 34°C, around 50% of the cypselae died after 20 days of immersion. Similar trends for cypselae longevity were observed in studies using river and pond water; viability loss was faster, especially in pond water. In summary, a proportion of cypselae will float in turbulent water and could be carried significant distances in river systems. Immersed cypselae can remain viable for weeks and can germinate on contact with soil. Water bodies or floods are therefore considered as important pathways in parthenium weed dispersal; hence, post-flood monitoring is strongly recommended to minimise its spread.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Plants
Science > Invasive Species > Plants > Impact assessment
Plant pests and diseases > Weeds, parasitic plants etc
Live Archive:04 Jun 2019 23:07
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:45

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