Biological Invasions

, Volume 14, Issue 8, pp 1711–1724 | Cite as

The influence of chilling requirement on the southern distribution limit of exotic Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) in western North America

  • K. R. Guilbault
  • C. S. Brown
  • J. M. Friedman
  • P. B. Shafroth
Original Paper


Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia L.), a Eurasian tree now abundant along rivers in western North America, has an apparent southern distribution limit running through southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. We used field observations to precisely define this limit in relation to temperature variables. We then investigated whether lack of cold temperatures south of the limit may prevent the accumulation of sufficient chilling, inhibiting dormancy loss of seeds and buds. We found that Russian olive occurrence was more strongly associated with low winter temperatures than with high summer temperatures, and results of controlled seed germination and vegetative bud-break experiments suggest that the chilling requirements for germination and bud-break are partly responsible for the southern range limit. Both seed germination proportion and germination time decreased under conditions simulating those south of the range limit. Similarly, percentage bud break decreased when chilling dropped below values typical of the range limit. In 17–65% of the years from 1980 to 2000, the chilling accumulated at a site near the range limit (El Paso, TX) would lead to a 10% or more decrease in bud-break. The potential decline in growth could have large fitness consequences for Russian olive. If climate change exhibits a warming trend, our results suggest the chilling requirement for bud-break of Russian olive trees will not be met in some years and its southern range limit may retreat northward.


Russian olive Exotic plant species Range limit Chilling Germination Bud-break 

Supplementary material

10530_2012_182_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (57 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 56 kb)


  1. Association of Official Seed Analysis (AOSA) (2000) Tetrazolium testing handbook. In: Contribution No. 29. Handbook on seed testing. AOSA, Lincoln, p 302Google Scholar
  2. Augspurger CK (2004) Developmental versus environmental control of early leaf phenology in juvenile Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra). Can J Bot 82:31–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Augspurger CK, Barlett EA (2003) Differences in leaf phenology between juvenile and adult trees in a temperate deciduous forest. Tree Physiol 23:517–525PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Augspurger CK, Cheeseman JM, Salk CF (2005) Light gains and physiological capacity of understory woody plants during phenological avoidance of canopy shade. Funct Ecol 19:537–546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baker KS, Steadman KJ, Plummer JA, Merritt DJ, Dixon KW (2005) The changing window of conditions that promote germination of two fire ephemerals, Actinotus leucocephalus (Apiaceae) and Tersonia cyathiflora (Gyrostemonaceae). Ann Bot 96:1225–1236PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baldocchi D, Wong S (2008) Accumulated winter chill is decreasing in the fruit growing regions of California. Clim Change 87:S153–S166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Baskin JM, Baskin CC (2004) A classification system for seed dormancy. Seed Sci Res 14:1–16Google Scholar
  8. Batlla D, Benech-Arnold RL (2004) A predictive model for dormancy loss in Polygonum aviculare L. seeds based on changes in population hydrotime parameters. Seed Sci Res 14:277–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Batlla D, Grundy A, Dent KC, Clay HA, Finch-Savage WE (2009) A quantitative analysis of temperature-dependent dormancy changes in Polygonum aviculare seeds. Weed Res 49:428–438CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bonner FT (2008) Seed biology In: Bonner FT, Karrfalt RP (eds) The woody plant seed manual agricultural handbook, vol 727, pp 4–32Google Scholar
  11. Bradford JB, Laurenroth WK (2006) Controls over invasion of Bromus tectorum: the importance of climate, soil, disturbance and seed availability. J Veg Sci 17:693–704Google Scholar
  12. Bradley BA, Wilcove DS (2009) When invasive plants disappear: transformative restoration possibilities in the western United States resulting from climate change. Restor Ecol 17:715–721CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bradley BA, Oppenheimer M, Wilcove DS (2009) Climate change and plant invasions: restoration opportunities ahead? Glob Change Biol 15:1511–1521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Buswell JM, Moles AT, Hartley S (2011) Is rapid evolution common in introduced plant species? J Ecol 99:214–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cameron AD, Sani H (1994) Growth and branching habit of rooted cuttings collected from epicormic shoots of Betula pendula Roth. Tree Physiol 14:427–436PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Campbell CJ, Dick-Peddie WA (1964) Comparison of phreatophyte communities on the Rio Grande in New Mexico. Ecology 45:492–502CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cannell MGR, Smith RI (1983) Thermal time, chill days and prediction of budburst in Picea-Sitchensis. J Appl Ecol 20:951–963CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cesaraccio C, Spano D, Snyder RL, Duce P (2004) Chilling and forcing model to predict bud-burst of crop and forest species. Agr For Meteorol 126:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Chien CT, Chen SY, Chang SH, Chung JD (2006) Dormancy and germination in seeds of the medicinal Asian tree species Phellodendron amurense var. wilsonii (Rutaceae). Seed Sci Technol 34:561–571Google Scholar
  20. Chuine I, Beaubien EG (2001) Phenology is a major determinant of tree species range. Ecol Lett 4:500–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Darwin CR (1859) On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favored races in the struggle for life. John Murray, LondonGoogle Scholar
  22. Dogramaci M, Horvath DP, Chao WS, Foley ME, Christoffers MJ, Anderson JV (2010) Low temperatures impact dormancy status, flowering competence, and transcript profiles in crown buds of leafy spurge. Plant Mol Biol 73:207–226PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ehrlen J (2003) Fitness components versus total demographic effects: evaluation herbivore impacts on a perennial herb. Am Nat 162:796–810PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Erez A, Lavee S (1971) Effect of climatic conditions on dormancy development of peach buds. 1. Temperature. J Am Soc Hortic Sci 96:711–714Google Scholar
  25. Erez A, Couvillon GA, Hendershott CH (1979) Quantitative chilling enhancement and negation in peach buds by high temperatures in a daily cycle. J Am Soc Hortic Sci 108:536–540Google Scholar
  26. Fang J, Lechowicz MJ (2006) Climatic limits for the present distribution of beech (Fagus L.) species in the world. J Biogeogr 33:1804–1819CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Farmer RE Jr, Barnett PE, Hall GC (1975) Effects of chilling and pruning in forcing dormant black cherry. Can J For Res 5:160–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Flannigan MD, Woodward FI (1994) Red pine abundance: current climatic control and responses to future warming. Can J For Res 24:1166–1175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Fowler LJ, Fowler DK (1987) Stratification and temperature requirements for germination of autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) seed. Tree Planters’ Notes 38:14–17Google Scholar
  30. Friedman JM, Auble GT, Scott ML, Merigliano MF, Freehling MD, Griffin ER (2005) Dominance of non-native riparian trees in western USA. Biol Invas 7:747–751CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Friedman JM, Roelle JM, Gaskin JF, Pepper AE, Manhart JR (2008) Latitudinal variation in cold hardiness in introduced Tamarix and native Populus. Evol Appl 1:598–607Google Scholar
  32. Fuchigami LH, Wisniewsky M (1997) Quantifying bud dormancy: physiological approaches. HortScience 32:618–623Google Scholar
  33. Gaston KJ (2003) The structure and dynamics of geographic ranges. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  34. Guilbault KG (2010) The influence of chilling requirement on the southern distribution limit of exotic Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) in western North America. Master’s thesis, Colorado State UniversityGoogle Scholar
  35. Hamilton DF, Carpenter PL (1976) Regulation of seed dormancy in Elaeagnus angustifolia by endogenous growth substances. Can J Bot 54:1068–1073CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Handley RJ, Davy AJ (2005) Temperature effects on seed maturity and dormancy cycles in an aquatic annual, Najas marina, at the edge of its range. J Ecol 93:1185–1193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Harris JA, Hobbs RJ, Higgs E, Aronson J (2006) Ecological restoration and global climate change. Restor Ecol 14:170–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Heit CE (1967) Propagation from seed: 6. Hard-seededness—a critical factor. Am Nurserym 125:10–12, 88–96Google Scholar
  39. Hochwender CG, Sork VL, Marquis RJ (2003) Fitness consequences of herbivory on Quercus alba. Am Midl Nat 150:246–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Hoehler FK (1995) Logistic equations in the analysis of s-shaped curves. Comput Biol Med 25:367–371PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hogue EJ, LaCroix LJ (1970) Seed dormancy of Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia L.). J Am Soc Hortic Sci 95:449–452Google Scholar
  42. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2007) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. Contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  43. Jarnevich CS, Reynolds LV (2011) Challenges of predicting the potential distribution of a slow-spreading invader: a habitat suitability map for an invasive riparian tree. Biol Invas 13:153–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Jarnevich CS, Stohlgren TJ (2009) Near term climate projections for invasive species distributions. Biol Invas 11:1373–1379CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Katz GL, Shafroth PB (2003) Biology, ecology and management of Elaeagnus angustifolia L. (Russian olive) in western North America. Wetlands 23:763–777CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Kriticos DJ, Sutherst RW, Brown JR, Adkins SW, Maywald GF (2003) Climate change and the potential distribution of an invasive alien plant: Acacia nilotica ssp. indica in Australia. J Appl Ecol 40:111–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Linvill DE (1990) Calculating chilling hours and chill units from daily maximum and minimum temperature observations. HortScience 25:14–16Google Scholar
  48. Lopez G, Scott JR, Dejong TM (2007) High spring temperatures decrease peach fruit size. Calif Agric 61:31–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Luedeling E, Zhang M, Girvetz EH (2009) Climatic changes lead to declining winter chill for fruit and nut trees in California during 1950–2099. PLoS ONE 4:e6166. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006166 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. MacArthur RH (1972) Geographical ecology. Harper and Row, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  51. Marshall JK (1968) Factors limiting the survival of Corynephorus canescens L. Beauv. in Great Britain at the northern edge of its distribution. Oikos 19:206–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Morin X, Augspurger C, Chuine I (2007) Process-based modeling of species’ distributions: what limits temperate tree species’ range boundaries? Ecology 88:2280–2291PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Morin X, Viner D, Chuine I (2008) Tree species range shifts at a continental scale: new predictive insights from a process-based model. J Ecol 96:784–794CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Morin X, Lechowicz MJ, Augspurger C, O’Keefe JO, Viner D, Chuine I (2009) Leaf phenology in 22 North American tree species during the 21st century. Glob Change Biol 15:961–975CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Mothershead K, Marquis RJ (2000) Fitness impacts of herbivory through indirect effects on plant-pollinator interactions in Oenothera Macrocarpa. Ecol 81:30–40Google Scholar
  56. Murray MB, Cannell MGR, Smith RI (1989) Date of budburst of fifteen tree species in Britain following climatic warming. J Appl Ecol 26:693–700CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Myking T, Heide OM (1995) Dormancy release and chilling requirement of buds of latitudinal ecotypes of Betula pendula and B. pubescens. Tree Physiol 15:697–704PubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Myneni RB, Keeling CD, Tucker CJ, Asrar G, Nemani RR (1997) Increasing plant growth in the northern high latitude from 1981 to 1991. Nature 386:698–702CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Olson DF Jr (1974) Elaeagnus L. elaeagnus. In: Schopmeyer CS (ed) Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agricutural Handbook 450. Washington, DC, USAGoogle Scholar
  60. Parmesan C, Yohe G (2003) A globally coherent fingerprint of climate change impacts across natural systems. Nature 421:37–42PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Pearson RG, Dawson TP (2003) Predicting the impacts of climate change on the distribution of species: are bioclimate envelope models useful? Glob Ecol Biogeogr 12:361–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Perry TO (1971) Dormancy of trees in winter. Science 171:29–36PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Peterson AT, Papes M, Kluza DA (2003) Predicting the potential invasive distributions of four alien plant species in North America. Weed Sci 51:863–868CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Phivnil K, Beppu K, Mochioka R, Fukuda T, Kataoka I (2004) Low-chill trait for endodormancy completion in Actinidia arguta Planch. (Sarunashi) and A. rufa Planch. (Shima-saunashi), Indigenous Actinidia species in Japan and their interspecific hybrids. J Jpn Soc Hortic Sci 73:244–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Prentice IC, Helmisaari H (1991) Silvics of north European trees: compilation, comparisons and implications for forest succession modeling. For Ecol Manag 42:79–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Pritchard HW, Tompsett PB, Manger KR (1996) Development of a thermal time model for the quantification of dormancy loss in Aesculus hippocastanum seeds. Seed Sci Res 6:127–135Google Scholar
  67. Rakngan J, Gemma H, Iwahori S (1996) Phenology and carbohydrate metabolism of Japanese pear trees grown under continuously high temperatures. J Jpn Soc Hortic Sci 65:55–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Rattigan K, Hill SJ (1986) Relationship between temperature and flowering in almond. Aust J Exp Agric 26:399–404CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Reynolds LV, Cooper DJ (2010) Environmental tolerance of an invasive riparian tree and its potential for continued spread in the Southwestern US. J Veg Sci. doi:10.1111/j.1654-1103.2010.01179.x
  70. Richardson EA, Seeley SD, Walker DR (1974) A model for estimating the completion of rest for ‘Redhaven’ and ‘Alberta’ peach trees. HortScience 9:331–332Google Scholar
  71. Scholten M, Donahue J, Shaw NL, Serpe MD (2009) Environmental regulation of dormacy loss in seeds of Lomatium dissectum (Apiaceae). Ann Bot 103:1091–1101PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Seiwa K (1999) Changes in leaf phenology are dependent on tree height in Acer mono, a deciduous broad-leaved tree. Ann Bot 83:355–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Sexton JP, McIntyre PJ, Angert AL, Rice KJ (2009) Evolution and ecology of species range limits. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 40:415–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Shafer SL, Bartlein PJ, Thompson RS (2001) Potential changes in the distributions of western North America tree and shrub taxa under future climate scenarios. Ecosystems 4:200–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Shafroth PB, Auble GT, Scott ML (1995) Germination and establishment of the native plains cottonwood (Populus deltoides Marshall subsp. monilifera) and the exotic Russian-Olive (Elaeagnus angustilfolia L.). Soc Conserv Biol 9:1169–1175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Shafroth PB, Brown CA, Merritt DM (2010) Saltcedar and Russian olive control demonstration act science assessment. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2009-5247. U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, p 143Google Scholar
  77. Stokes P (1965) Temperature and seed dormancy. In: Ruhland W (ed) Encyclopedia of plant physiology. Springer, Berlin, pp 746–796Google Scholar
  78. Thuiller W (2004) Patterns and uncertainties of species’ range shifts under climate change. Glob Change Biol 10:2020–2027CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Vitousek PM, Dantonio CM, Looper LL, Westbrooks R (1996) Biological invasions as global environmental change. Am Sci 84:468–478Google Scholar
  80. Williams AL, Wills KE, Janes JK, Schoor JKV, Newton PCD, Hovenden MJ (2007) Warming and free-air CO2 enrichment alter demographics in four co-occurring grassland species. New Phytol 176:365–374PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Wooton EO, Standley PC (1915) Flora of New Mexico. Contr US Nat Herb 19, US Govt Printing Office, Washington, DC, p 794Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. R. Guilbault
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. S. Brown
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. M. Friedman
    • 1
    • 3
  • P. B. Shafroth
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Graduate Degree Program in EcologyColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest ManagementColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  3. 3.U.S. Geological SurveyFort Collins Science CenterFort CollinsUSA

Personalised recommendations