Environmental Fluid Mechanics

, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 1051–1065 | Cite as

Laboratory investigation of Fallopia × bohemica fruits dispersal by watercourses

  • Quentin Rendu
  • Emmanuel Mignot
  • Nicolas Riviere
  • Barbara Lamberti-Raverot
  • Sara Puijalon
  • Florence Piola
Original Article


Seed and fruit dispersal along watercourses favours the long-distance migration of invasive species, not only for aquatic or wetland species, but also for terrestrial wind-dispersed plants, like the Japanese knotweed. The present paper aims at investigating the role of watercourses in the dispersal of the knotweed due to its frequent occurrence on riverbanks and production of fertile achenes (type of fruit of the Japanese knotweed). This dispersal occurs along two steps after the fruits deposit on the water surface: floatation first and then sinking towards the bottom of the watercourse. Regarding the first step, the effects of agitation of the water, temperature, surface tension and luminosity on the achenes floatability are experimentally studied. While no influence of luminosity is observed, an increase of temperature greatly decreases the floating time. Floating time also decreases as the contact between water and the fruit is enhanced (through submersion of achenes, agitation of the water or lower surface tension). Regarding the second step, the fall velocity of the fruits in water at rest is measured and appears to be independent of the seed history (floating time). 3D helical motions are systematically observed with constant tangential velocity with respect to the falling velocity. The trajectory of the fruits in a shear flow is then measured and the evolution of their velocity components along the sinking process is discussed. Finally, the contribution of both steps to the long-distance migration of the seeds is estimated.


Buoyancy Settling velocity Achene Fruit hydrodynamics Hydrochory Helical motion Shear flow 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LMFA (UMR CNRS 5509)Univ. Lyon, UCBLVilleurbanneFrance
  2. 2.LMFA (UMR CNRS 5509), INSA LyonUniv. LyonVilleurbanneFrance
  3. 3.LEHNA (UMR CNRS 5023)Univ. Lyon, UCBLVilleurbanneFrance

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