Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 2039–2055 | Cite as

Evidence for allelopathy by tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima)

  • Rod M. Heisey
Article

Abstract

Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle contains one or more phytotoxic compounds in roots and leaves. Activity is higher in roots, where it occurs primarily in the bark. Powdered root bark and leaflets strongly inhibited growth of garden cress (Lepidium sativum L.) when mixed with soil in Petri dishes (ID50 values=0.03 g root bark, 0.6 g leaflet/dish). The toxic material was readily extracted by methanol but not dichloromethane. Pieces of root bark mixed with soil at 2, 1, and 0.5 g/pot reduced cress biomass in the greenhouse, whereas methanol-extracted root bark did not. The inhibitory effect ofAilanthus tissues in soil was short-lived (≤4 weeks in pots in greenhouse, ≤3 days in Petri dishes in laboratory). Inhibition by root bark was sometimes superseded by stimulation. FreshAilanthus root segments placed in or on soil reduced growth of nearby cress seedlings. Fine roots were more inhibitory than coarse, and inhibition became more pronounced with increased time of soil exposure to roots. Soil collected nearAilanthus roots in the field supported reduced radicle growth of cress compared to control soil. In contrast, stemflow fromAilanthus trees stimulated cress growth. The results suggest allelopathy caused by toxin exudation from roots may contribute to the aggressiveness and persistence ofAilanthus in certain habitats.

Key words

Ailanthus altissima tree-of-heaven Simarubaceae allelopathy allelochemicals phytotoxicity root exudates succession 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Barnes, J.P., andPutnam, A.R. 1987. Role of benzoxazinones in allelopathy by rye (Secale cereale L.).J. Chem. Ecol, 13:889–906.Google Scholar
  2. Bonner, J. 1946. Further investigation of toxic substances which arise from guayule plants: relation of toxic substances to the growth of guayule in soil.Bot. Gaz. 107:343–351.Google Scholar
  3. Cheniclet, C. 1987. Effects of wounding and fungus inoculation on terpene producing systems of maritime pine.J. Exp. Bot. 38:1557–1572.Google Scholar
  4. Einhellig, F.A., andLeather, G.R. 1988. Potentials for exploiting allelopathy to enhance crop production.J. Chem. Ecol. 14:1829–1844.Google Scholar
  5. Fernald, M.L. 1970. Gray's Manual of Botany. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York.Google Scholar
  6. Foster, N.W., andNicholson, J.A. 1988. Acid deposition and nutrient leaching from deciduous vegetation and podzolic soils at the Tukey Lakes watershed.Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 45(Suppl. 1):96–100.Google Scholar
  7. Fuerst, E.P., andPutnam, A.R. 1983. Separating the competitive and allelopathic components of interference: Theoretical principles.J. Chem. Ecol.9:937–944.Google Scholar
  8. Garten, C.T., Jr., Bondietti, E. A., andLomax, R.D. 1988. Contribution of foliar leaching and dry deposition to sulfate in net throughfall below deciduous trees.Atmos. Environ. 22:1425–1432.Google Scholar
  9. Harborne, J.B. 1988. Introduction to Ecological Biochemistry. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  10. Harper, J.L. 1977. Population Biology of Plants. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  11. Heisey, R.M. 1990. Allelopathic and herbicidal effects of tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima).Am. J. Bot. 77:662–670.Google Scholar
  12. Heisey, R.M., andDelwiche, C.C. 1983. A survey of California plants for water-extractable and volatile inhibitors.Bot. Gaz. 144:382–390.Google Scholar
  13. Heisey, R.M., andDelwiche, C.C. 1985. Allelopathic effects ofTrichostema lanceolatum (Labiatae) in the California annual grassland.J. Ecol. 73:729–742.Google Scholar
  14. Heisey, R.M., andPutnam, A.R. 1990. Herbicidal activity of the antibiotics geldanamycin and nigericin.J. Plant Growth Regul. 9:19–25.Google Scholar
  15. Kemp, M.S., andBurden, R.S. 1986. Phytoalexins and stress metabolites in the sapwood of trees.Phytochemistry 25:1261–1269.Google Scholar
  16. Kozel, P.C., andTukey, H.B., Jr. 1968. Loss of gibberellins by leaching from stems and foliage ofChrysanthemum morifolium Princess Anne.Am. J. Bot. 55:1184–1189.Google Scholar
  17. Kramer, C.Y. 1956. Extension of multiple range tests to group means with unequal numbers of replications.Biometrics 12:307–310.Google Scholar
  18. Leather, G.R., andF.A. Einhellig. 1988. Bioassay of naturally occurring allelochemicals for phytotoxicity.J. Chem. Ecol. 14:1821–1828.Google Scholar
  19. Lehle, F.R., andPutnam, A.R. 1982. Quantification of allelopathic potential of sorghum residues by novel indexing of Richards' function fitted to cumulative cress seed germination curves.Plant Physiol. 69:1212–1216.Google Scholar
  20. Likens, G.E., andEaton, J.S. 1970. A polyurethane stemflow collector for trees and shrubs.Ecology 51:938–939.Google Scholar
  21. Little, S. 1974.Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle, pp. 201–202,in Seeds of Woody Plants in the United States. U.S. Department of Agriculture Handbook 450. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  22. Mergen, F. 1959. A toxic principle in the leaves ofAilanthus.Bot. Gaz. 121:32–36.Google Scholar
  23. Munz, P.A., andKeck, D.D. 1959. A California Flora. University of California Press, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  24. Newton, E. 1986. Arboreal riffraff or ultimate tree?Audubon 88(4):12–19.Google Scholar
  25. Niemeyer, H.M. 1988. Hydroxamic acids (4-hydroxy-1,4-benzoxazin-3-ones), defense chemicals in the Gramineae.Phytochemistry 27:3349–3358.Google Scholar
  26. Pan, E., andBassuk, N. 1985. Effects of soil type and compaction on the growth ofAilanthus altissima seedlings.J. Environ. Hortic. 3(4): 158–162.Google Scholar
  27. Pan, E., andBassuk, N. 1986. Establishment and distribution ofAilanthus altissima in the urban environment.J. Environ. Hortic. 4(1):1–4.Google Scholar
  28. Putnam, A. 1988. Allelochemicals from plants as herbicides.Weed Technol. 2:510–518.Google Scholar
  29. Putnam, A.R., andTang, C.S. (eds.) 1986. The Science of Allelopathy. John Wiley & Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  30. Rice, E.L. 1984. Allelopathy. Academic Press, Orlando, Florida.Google Scholar
  31. Ries, S.K., 1976. Subtoxic effects on plants, pp. 313–344,in L.J. Audus (ed.). Herbicides, Vol. 2. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  32. Schier, G.A. 1987. Throughfall chemistry in a red maple provenance plantation sprayed with “acid rain.”Can. J. For. Res. 17:660–665.Google Scholar
  33. Schmidt, S.K. 1988. Degradation of juglone by soil bacteria.J. Chem. Ecol. 14:1561–1571.Google Scholar
  34. Silverstein, R.M., andSimeone, J.B. (eds.). 1983. Special Issue: North American Symposium on Allelopathy.J. Chem. Ecol. 9.Google Scholar
  35. Stowe, L.G. 1979. Allelopathy and its influence on the distribution of plants in an Illinois oldfield.J. Ecol. 67:1065–1085.Google Scholar
  36. Tukey, H.B., JR. 1969. Implications of allelopathy in agricultural plant science.Bot Rev. 35:1–16.Google Scholar
  37. Tukey, H.B., Jr. 1971. Leaching of substances from plants, pp. 25–32,in Biochemical Interactions Among Plants. National Academy of Science, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  38. Tuomi, J., Niemela, P., Rousi, M., Siren, S., andVuorisalo, T. 1988. Induced accumulation of foliage phenols in mountain birch: Branch response to defoliation?Am. Nat. 132:602–608.Google Scholar
  39. Weston, L.A., Burke, B.A., andPutnam, A.R. 1987. Isolation, characterization, and activity of phytotoxic compounds from quackgrass (Agropyron repens (L.) Beauv.).J. Chem. Ecol. 13:403–421.Google Scholar
  40. Whittaker, R.H., andFeeny, P.P. 1971. Allelochemics: chemical interactions between species.Science 171:757–770.Google Scholar
  41. Yang, R.Z., andTang, C.S. 1988. Plants used for pest control in China: A literature review.Econ. Bot. 42:376–406.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rod M. Heisey
    • 1
  1. 1.Calder Conservation and Ecology CenterFordham UniversityArmonk

Personalised recommendations