Plant Ecology

, Volume 132, Issue 1, pp 85–95 | Cite as

Allelopathy as a competitive strategy in persistent thickets of Lantana camara L. in three Australian forest communities

  • C. B. Gentle
  • J. A. Duggin*


Field experiments were established to assess possible allelopathic suppression by Lantana camara L. of two indigenous tree species. The design allowed comparison of allelopathic effects with density-dependent resource competition effects. Fire and its role in competitive interactions was included as an experimental treatment. Allelopathic responses were measured in L. camara thickets by germinating and growing Alectryon subcinereus (A. Gray) Radlk. in dry rainforest ecotones (Macleay River) or Cryptocarya rigida (Meissner) in warm temperate rainforest and wet sclerophyll forest (Lake Macquarie) at 10, 20 and 30 seedlings m-2, where L. camara was either physically removed (LR), burnt (LB), or cut and left in place (LT). Germination for both species increased significantly by completely removing L. camara (LR) whereas burning (LB) was significant only for C. rigida. Seedling growth for both species was negatively related to increasing density when all L. camara was removed (LR) but was positively related in the other two treatments (LB and LT). C. rigida seedling biomass increased 47.4% (1.75%2.58 g) and 68.6% (1.98%2.95 g) with increasing seedling density for LT and LB respectively and decreased 23.2% (2.93–2.25 g) for LR. A. subcinereus seedling biomass increased 29.7% (1.95–2.53 g) and 34.7% (2.25–3.03 g) with increasing seedling density for LT and LB respectively and decreased 27.9% (3.30–2.38 g) for LR. Phytotoxin dilution effects were inferred in LT and LB rather than density-dependent intraspecific competition, whereas the reverse was true for LR. Seedling biomass for C. rigida resulting from potential phytotoxin dilution at high seedling density was not significantly different from the response of LR at low seedling density but, for A. subcinereus, the phytotoxin dilution response was significantly less than LR at low seedling density. Moderately intense fire (LB) was not significantly different from the LT treatment at both locations, emphasising that moderate to low intensity fires should not be used to control existing invasions of L. camara. Competitive strategies for invasive populations are identified that may modify succession following disturbance, thereby allowing thicket formation and long-term persistence to affect community dynamics. Such strategies need to be recognised in managing natural communities, particularly for biodiversity conservation.

Nomenclature: Harden (1990).

Density-dependent Fire Phytotoxin dilution Resource competition Seedling growth 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Achhireddy, N. R. & Singh, M. 1984. Allelopathic effects of lantana (Lantana camara) on milkweed vine (Morrenia odorata). Weed Sci. 32: 757-761.Google Scholar
  2. Adams, M. A., Iser, J., Kelleher, A. D. & Cheal, D. C. 1994. Nitrogen and phosphorus availability and the role of fire in the heathlands at Wilson's Promontory. Austr. J. Bot. 42: 269-281.Google Scholar
  3. Bennett, R. J. 1989. Dry rainforest - fire interactions in the Apsley-Macleay gorges: implications formanagement. Master of Natural Resources Thesis, University of New England, Armidale.Google Scholar
  4. Bewick, T. A., Shilling, D. G., Dusky, J. A. & Williams, D. 1994. Effects of celery (Apium graveolens) root residue on growth of various crops and weeds. Weed Techn. 8: 625-629.Google Scholar
  5. Bhatt, Y. D., Rawat, Y. S. & Singh, S. P. 1994. Changes in ecosystem functioning after replacement of forest by Lantanashrubland in Kumaun Himalaya. J. Veg. Sci. 5: 67-70.Google Scholar
  6. Burr, E. J. 1981. NEVA Users Manual: Analysis of Variance for Complete Factorial Experiments. University of New England, Armidale.Google Scholar
  7. Chapin, F. S., Ultousek, P. M. & Van Cleve, K. 1986. The nature of nutrient limitation in plant communities. Amer. Nat. 127: 48-58.Google Scholar
  8. Connell, J. H. 1983. On the prevalence and relative importance of interspecificcompetition: evidence fromfield experiments.Amer. Nat. 122: 661-696.Google Scholar
  9. Dekker, J. H., Meggitt, W. F. & Putnam, A. R. 1983. Experimental methodologies to evaluate allelopathic plant interactions: the Abutilon theophrasti-Glycine maxmodel. J. Chem. Ecol. 9: 945- 981.Google Scholar
  10. Diamond, J. M. 1983. Laboratory, field and natural experiments. Nature 304: 586-587.Google Scholar
  11. Fensham, R. J., Fairfax, R. J. & Connell, R. J. 1994. The invasion of Lantana camaraL. in Forty Mile Scrub National Park, North Queensland. Austr. J. Ecol. 19: 297-305.Google Scholar
  12. Firbank, L. G. & Watkinson, A. R. 1985. On the analysis of competition within two-species mixtures of plants. J. Appl. Ecol. 22: 503-517.Google Scholar
  13. Fischer, N.H., Williamson, G. B., Weidenhamer, J.D. & Richardson, D. R. 1994. In search of allelopathy in the Florida scrub. The role of terpenoids. J. Chem. Ecol. 20: 1355-1380.Google Scholar
  14. Floyd, A. G. 1989. Rainforest Trees of Mainland South-Eastern Australia. Inkata Press, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  15. Fuerst, E. P. & Putnam, A. R. 1983. Separating the competitive and allelopathic components of interference: theoretical principles. J. Chem. Ecol. 9: 937-944.Google Scholar
  16. Gallagher, S. 1979. The effect of Lantana camaraon its immediate environment. Unpublished report, New South Wales Institute of Technology, Sydney.Google Scholar
  17. Gentle, C. B. & Duggin, J. A. 1997. Lantana camaraL. invasions in dry rainforest-open forest ecotones: the role of disturbances associated with fire and cattle grazing. Austr. J. Ecol. (in press).Google Scholar
  18. Goldberg, D. E. & Werner, P. A. 1983. Equivalence of competitors in plant communities: a null hypothesis and a field experimental approach. Amer. J. Bot. 70: 1098-1104.Google Scholar
  19. Grime, J. P. 1977. Evidence for the existence of three primary strategies in plants and its relevance to ecological and evolutionary theory. Amer. Nat. 111: 1169-1194.Google Scholar
  20. Groves, R. H. 1991. Status of environmental weed control in Australia. Plant Protection Quarterly 6: 95-98.Google Scholar
  21. Haddad, C. R. B. & Valio, I. F. M. 1993. Effect of fire on flowering of Lantana montevidensisBriq. J. Plant Phys. 141: 704-707.Google Scholar
  22. Harden, G. (ed) 1990. Flora of New South Wales. Volumes 1-4. New South Wales University Press, Kensington.Google Scholar
  23. Hardin, G. 1960. The competitive exclusion principle. Science 131: 1292-1297.Google Scholar
  24. Hart, N. K., Lamberton, J. A., Sioumis, A. A. & Saures, H. 1976. New triterpenes of Lantana camara. A comparative study of the constituents of several taxa. Austr. J. Chem. 29: 655-671.Google Scholar
  25. Hobbs, R. J. 1989. The nature and effects of disturbance relative to invasions. Pp. 389-405. In: Drake, J.A., Mooney, H. A., di Castri, F., Groves, R. H., Kruger, F. J., Rejmanek, M. & Williamson, M. (eds), Biological invasions - a global perspective. Scope 37 Wiley, Chichester.Google Scholar
  26. Lamb, R. 1982. Some effects of Lantana camaraon community dynamics of eucalypt woodland. Proceedings of the 52nd ANZAAS Congress, Section 12: 304-305.Google Scholar
  27. Langenheim, J. H. 1994. Higher plant terpenoids: A phytocentric overview of their ecological roles. J. Chem. Ecol. 20: 1223-1280.Google Scholar
  28. Macdonald, I. A. W., Thebauld, G., Strahm, W. A. & Strasberg, D. 1991. Effects of alien plant invasions on native vegetation remnants on La Reunion (Mascarene Islands, Indian Ocean). Environ. Cons. 18: 51-61.Google Scholar
  29. Mallik, A. V. & Roberts, B. A. 1994. Natural regeneration of Pinus resinosaon burned and unburned sites in Newfounland. J. Veg. Sci. 5: 179-186.Google Scholar
  30. Mersie, W. & Singh, M. 1987. Allelopathic effect of Lantanaon some agronomic crops and weeds. Plant Soil 98: 25-30.Google Scholar
  31. Miller, R. S. 1967. Pattern and process in competition. Adv. Ecol. Res. 4: 1-74.Google Scholar
  32. Mount, A. B. 1969. Eucalypt ecology as related to fire. Proc. the Tall Timbers Fire Ecol. Conf. 9: 75-108.Google Scholar
  33. Muller, C. H. 1965. The role of chemical inhibition (allelopathy) in vegetational composition. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 93: 332-351.Google Scholar
  34. Nilsson, M. C. 1994. Separation of allelopathy and resource competition by the boreal dwarf shrub Empetrum hermaphroditumHagerup. Oecologia 98: 1-7.Google Scholar
  35. Pellissier, F. 1994. Effect of phenolic compounds in humus on the natural regeneration of spruce. Phytochemistry 36: 865-867.Google Scholar
  36. Prasad, K. & Srivastava, V. C. 1991. Teletoxic effect of weeds on germination and growth of rice (Oryza sativa). Indian J. Agr. Sci. 61: 591-592.Google Scholar
  37. Putnam, A. R. & Tang, C-S. 1986. Allelopathy: the state of the science. In: Putnam A. R. & Tang, C-S. (eds). The Science of Allelopathy. John Wiley and Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  38. Raison, R. J. 1980. A review of the role of fire in nutrient cycling in Australian native forest, and of methodology for studying the fire-nutrient interaction. Austr. J. Ecology 5: 15-21.Google Scholar
  39. Rawat, Y. S., Bhatt, Y. D., Punde, P. & Singh, S. P. 1994. Production and nutrient cycling in Arundinaria falcataand Lantana camara- the two converted ecosystems in central Himalaya. Tropical Ecol. 35: 53-67.Google Scholar
  40. Reader, R. J. & Bricker, B. D. 1994. Barriers to the establishment of invading non-forest plants in deciduous forest nature reserves. Envir. Cons. 21: 62-66.Google Scholar
  41. Rutherford, M. C. & Powrie, L. W. 1993. Allelochemic control of biomass allocation in interacting shrub species. J. Chem. Ecol. 19: 893-906.Google Scholar
  42. Sahid, I. B. & Sagau, J. B. 1993. Allelopathic effect of Lantana (Lantana camara) and Siam weed (Chromolaena odorata) on selected crops. Weed Sci. 41: 303-308.Google Scholar
  43. Schoener, T. W. 1983. Field experiments on interspecific competition. Amer. Nat. 122: 240-285.Google Scholar
  44. Silander, J. A. & Antonovics, J. 1982. Analysis of interspecific interactions in a coastal plant community - a perturbation approach. Nature 298: 557-560.Google Scholar
  45. Swarbrick, J. T., Willson, B. W. & Hannan-Jones, M. A. 1995. The biology of Australian weeds 25. Lantana camaraL. Plant Prot. Quart. 10: 82-95.Google Scholar
  46. Thijs, J., Shann, J. R. & Weidenhamer, J. D. 1994. The effect of phytotoxins on competitive outcome in a model system. Ecology 75: 1959-1964.Google Scholar
  47. Tilman, D. 1987. On the meaning of competition and the mechanisms of competitive superiority. Funct. Ecol. 1: 304-315.Google Scholar
  48. Tilman, D. 1988. Plant strategies and the structure and dynamics of plant communities. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  49. Usher, M. B. 1988. Biological invasions of nature reserves: a search for generalisations. Biol. Cons. 44: 119-135.Google Scholar
  50. Van Wilgen, B. W. & Richardson, D. M. 1985. The effects of alien shrub invasions on vegetation structure and fire behaviour in South African fynbos shrublands: a simulation study. J. Appl. Ecol. 22: 455-466.Google Scholar
  51. Webb, L. J. 1968. Environmental relationships of the structural types of Australian rainforest vegetation. Ecology 49: 296-311.Google Scholar
  52. Webb, L. J. 1978. A general classification of Australian rainforests. Austr. Plants 9: 349-363.Google Scholar
  53. Weidenhamer, J. D., Hartnett, D. C. & Romeo, J. T. 1989. Density-dependent phytotoxicity: distinguishing resource competition and allelopathic interference in plants. J. Appl. Ecol. 26: 613-624.Google Scholar
  54. Willis, R. J. 1985. The historical bases of the concepts of allelopathy. J. History Biol. 18: 71-102.Google Scholar
  55. Wilson, J. B. 1988. Shoot competition and root competition. J. Appl. Ecol. 25: 279-296.Google Scholar
  56. Wilson, S. D. & Keddy, P. A. 1986. Species competitive ability and position along a natural stress/disturbance gradient. Ecology 67: 1236-1242.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. B. Gentle
    • 1
  • J. A. Duggin*
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecosystem ManagementUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia

Personalised recommendations