, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 116-120

Ecological adaptation of Eupatorium adenophorum populations to light intensity

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Eupatorium adenophorum is one of main invasive plants in China and has caused great economic losses. A study was conducted to determine the biomass allocation, leaf morphology and growth response of E. adenophorum seedlings that grew under five different intensities (relative irradiances RI 10%, 20%, 30%, 55%, 100%) for 14 months. Results reveal that the species shows typical leaf morphological adaptation to different light conditions. The total biomass of seedlings increased with the increase of light intensity from 10% to 55% RI but decreased at RI 100% (full sunlight). Height growth increased with the increase of light intensity from 10% to 30% RI but decreased when light intensity was over 30% RI. At low light levels, plants enhanced light availability by means of increasing biomass allocation to leaves and formation of larger, thinner leaves with high specific leaf area (SLA), leading to a high leaf area ratio (LAR) and high stem strips length (SSL). The mean relative growth rate (RGR) of the plant increased with the light intensity increase and attained the maximum at 55% RI. The growth of seedlings at 30%–55% RI was much better than that at full light condition. This might be an adaptive strategy that supports the vigorous invasiveness of this species, because a high-shaded canopy could prevent other plant species from surviving and growing. This study indicates that E. adenophorum could adapt to different light conditions, especially to low light habit. This can explain its greater invasiveness.

Foundation item: This study is supported by Doctor Fund Project of Education Department (20050290003), Knowledge Innovation Project of Chinese Academy of Sciences (KSCX1-SW-13-0X-0X) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (30470337).
Biography: SUN Xiao-yu (1973–), female, Ph. D candidate in the Institute of Restoration Ecology, China University of Mining and Technology, Beijing 100083, P. R. China.