Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 275–283 | Cite as

Effects of pine-produced chemicals on selected understory species in aPinus ponderosa community

  • M. A. K. Lodhi
  • Keith T. Killingbeck


Pinus ponderosa accounted for more than 98% of all tree and shrub stratum stems in a climax community with low herb coverage and aboveground biomass, 35% and 60 g/m2, respectively. Because of our previous report that nitrification and nitrifying bacteria in the same community were allelopathically inhibited, we speculated that the pine-produced allelochemics might also directly influence the development and growth of the herb stratum. In most cases decaying needles, needle leachate, and field soils significantly reduced germination and radicle growth ofAndropogon gerardii andA. scoparius, pine-associated herbaceous species. Additionally, growth ofAndropogon scoparius seedling radicles was reduced 28–56% by pine needle extracts, 33% by pine bark extracts, and 67% by soil hydrolysate extracts.Andropogon seed germination was reduced 20–25% by pine needles and soil. Phytotoxins identified in various plant parts and associated soils were caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, quercetin, and condensed tannins. Pine needle water and soil hydrolysate extracts were most inhibitory to the radicle growth of the test species. Thus it appears that the limited growth of the herbaceous stratum in the pine community may be accounted for, in part, by allelopathy. Such allelopathic interactions may have an adaptive ecological significance in various forest and other plant communities.

Key words

Allelopathy Pinus ponderosa herb stratum physioecology phytotoxins Andropogon gerardii Andropogon scoparius 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. A. K. Lodhi
    • 1
  • Keith T. Killingbeck
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyForest Park CollegeSt. Louis
  2. 2.Botany DepartmentUniversity of Rhode IslandKingston

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