, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 315-321

The effect of phosphite on the sexual reproduction of some annual species of the jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) forest of southwest Western Australia

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Phosphite is a cost-effective fungicide used to control the pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi which is damaging the diverse flora of the southwest of Western Australia. Three annual species of the southwest jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) forest of Western Australia (Pterocheata paniculata, Podotheca gnaphalioides and Hyalosperma cotula), were studied to determine the effect of the fungicide phosphite on the species’ reproduction. Phosphite at concentrations of 2.5, 5 and 10 g L–1 reduced pollen fertility of Pt. paniculata when plants were sprayed at the vegetative stage. Pollen fertility of all three species was reduced when plants were sprayed at anthesis with 10 g L–1 phosphite. Seed germination was reduced by phosphite in Pt. paniculata and H. cotula when plants were sprayed in the vegetative stage. Phosphite when sprayed at anthesis at a concentration of 5 g L–1 reduced seed germination of H. cotula. Phosphite at concentrations of 5 and 10 g L–1 killed a proportion of plants from all three species and up to 90% of Po. gnaphalioides plants. The frequent application of phosphite, therefore, may reduce the abundance of annual plants in this ecosystem.

Received: 14 December 2000 / Revision accepted: 10 March 2001