Plant Ecology

, Volume 176, Issue 2, pp 275–285 | Cite as

Analysis of interactions between the invasive tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) and the native black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)

  • Lara J. Call
  • Erik. T. Nilsen


Invasive exotic plants can persist and successfully spread within ecosystems and negatively affect the recruitment of native species. The exotic invasive Ailanthus altissima and the native Robinia pseudoacacia are frequently found in disturbed sites and exhibit similar growth and reproductive characteristics, yet each has distinct functional roles such as allelopathy and nitrogen fixation, respectively. A four-month full additive series in the greenhouse was used to analyze the intraspecific and interspecific interference between these two species. In the greenhouse experiment, the inverse of the mean total biomass (g) response per plant for each species was regressed on the density of each species and revealed that the performance of the plants was significantly reduced by interspecific interference and not by intraspecific interference (p < 0.05). Other biomass traits such as root dry weight, shoot dry weight, stem dry weight, and leaf dry weight were also negatively affected by interspecific interference. Competition indices such as Relative Yield Total and Relative Crowding Coefficient suggested that A. altissima was the better competitor in mixed plantings. Ailanthus altissima consistently produced a larger above ground and below ground relative yield while R. pseudoacacia generated a larger aboveground relative yield in high density mixed species pots.


Full additive design Functional types Interference Plant competition 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA

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