Plant Growth Regulation

, 57:137 | Cite as

Nature of interference potential of leaf debris of Ageratum conyzoides

  • Daizy R. Batish
  • Shalinder Kaur
  • Harminder Pal Singh
  • Ravinder Kumar Kohli
Original Paper


The present study investigated the allelopathic interference of leaf debris of Ageratum conyzoides (billy goat weed; Asteraceae)—a weed of cultivated land—against rice (Oryza sativa). Seedling length and dry weight of rice were significantly reduced (16–20%) in soil from A. conyzoides infested fields compared to the soil from an area devoid of the weed. It indicated the presence of certain phytotoxins in the A. conyzoides infested soil. To explore the possible contribution of the weed in releasing these phytotoxins, growth studies involving leaf debris extracts and amended soils (prepared by incorporating leaf debris—5, 10, 20 g kg−1 soil, w/w, or its extracts—0.5%, 1.0% and 2.0%, v/v) were conducted. The growth of rice was severely inhibited in A. conyzoides leaf debris- and debris extract-amended soils compared to unamended control soil. A significant amount of water-soluble phenolics, the potent phytotoxins, was found in the A. conyzoides infested soil, leaf debris, and debris-amended soils. These phenolics were identified as gallic acid, coumalic acid, protocatechuic acid, catechin and p-hydroxybenzoic acid. Among these, protocatechuic acid was in the maximum amount (35.72%) followed by coumalic acid (33.49%) and these two accounted for >69% of total phenolic compounds. Further, there was a significant increase in the available nutrient content in soil amended with A. conyzoides leaf debris thus ruling out the possibility of any resource depletion upon residue incorporation and their negative role in causing growth reduction. Based on the observations, the present study concludes that leaf debris of A. conyzoides deleteriously affects the early growth of rice by releasing water-soluble phenolic acids into the soil environment and not through soil nutrient depletion.


Ageratum conyzoides Leaf debris Phytotoxicity Rice (Oryza sativaSoil nutrient availability Water-soluble phenolics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BotanyPanjab UniversityChandigarhIndia
  2. 2.Centre for Environment and Vocational StudiesPanjab UniversityChandigarhIndia

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