Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 247–265 | Cite as

Isolation and characterization of allelopathic volatiles from mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)

  • Jacob N. BarneyEmail author
  • Anthony G. Hay
  • Leslie A. Weston


Several volatile allelochemicals were identified and characterized from fresh leaf tissue of three distinct populations of the invasive perennial weed, mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris). A unique bioassay was used to demonstrate the release of volatile allelochemicals from leaf tissues. Leaf volatiles were trapped and analyzed via gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. Some of the components identified were terpenes, including camphor, eucalyptol, α-pinene, and β-pinene. Those commercially available were tested individually to determine their phytotoxicity. Concentrations of detectable volatiles differed in both absolute and relative proportions among the mugwort populations. The three mugwort populations consisted of a taller, highly branched population (ITH-1); a shorter, lesser-branched population (ITH-2) (both grown from rhizome fragments from managed landscapes); and a population grown from seed with lobed leaves (VT). Considerable interspecific variation existed in leaf morphology and leaf surface chemistry. Bioassays revealed that none of the individual monoterpenes could account for the observed phytotoxicity imparted by total leaf volatiles, suggesting a synergistic effect or activity of a component not tested. Despite inability to detect a single dominant phytotoxic compound, decreases in total terpene concentration with increase in leaf age correlated with decreases in phytotoxicity. The presence of bioactive terpenoids in leaf surface chemistry of younger mugwort tissue suggests a potential role for terpenoids in mugwort establishment and proliferation in introduced habitats.


Artemisia vulgaris mugwort allelopathy monoterpenes volatiles invasive weed volatile bioassay glands 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacob N. Barney
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anthony G. Hay
    • 2
  • Leslie A. Weston
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HorticultureCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Department of MicrobiologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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