Plant Ecology

, Volume 144, Issue 1, pp 27–35

Growth and competition of Cytisus scoparius, an invasive shrub, and Australian native shrubs

  • Gael Fogarty
  • José M. Facelli

DOI: 10.1023/A:1009808116068

Cite this article as:
Fogarty, G. & Facelli, J.M. Plant Ecology (1999) 144: 27. doi:10.1023/A:1009808116068


English broom (Cytisus scoparius) is an aggressive invasive shrub in native sclerophyll forests of South Australia. We studied its relative growth rate (RGR) and competitive ability in soils from invaded and uninvaded woodlands, in comparison to three native species it commonly displaces:Hakea rostrata, Acacia verniciflua, and A. myrtifolia. Hakea was the slowest growing species throughout the year. Both native species had their highest RGR during spring. The RGR of broom was higher than that of both hakea and acacia in the winter and spring. Despite losing its leaves in the summer, the RGR of broom through the year was higher than that of either of the native species. Soil from the invaded stands had higher organic C, N and soluble P than that from uninvaded sites. Broom and acacia grew better in the higher nutrient soil than in the lower nutrient soil. Competition did not decrease the final biomass of any of the species in low nutrient soil. In the higher nutrient soil the biomass of broom was reduced by competition with acacia, but not by competition with hakea. Competition by broom reduced the biomass of hakea but not that of acacia. Broom's earlier and higher RGR, high competitiveness in nutrient rich soils, and probably its ability to change nutrient availability could be important contributors to the mechanisms by which it invades native woodlands.

CompetitionCytisus scopariusExotic speciesGrowth ratesNutrient availabilityInvasive speciesSclerophyllous woodlands

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gael Fogarty
    • 1
  • José M. Facelli
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia