Invasive Rhus typhina invests more in height growth and traits associated with light acquisition than do native and non-invasive alien shrub species
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The preferential investment in height growth and traits associated with light acquisition may provide insight into the invasiveness of Rhus typhina.
Plant traits have been shown to be associated with invasiveness. Rhus typhina, a shrub or small tree native to North America, shows invasiveness in non-native habitats. Compared to the native shrub Vitex negundo var. heterophylla and the non-invasive alien shrub Amorpha fruticosa, R. typhina showed a high photosynthetic capacity and specific leaf area but a low-leaf nitrogen content, indicating that R. typhina gained high photosynthetic income with low-leaf constituent cost. The non-photochemical quenching of R. typhina was the highest among the three species, which can be linked to its capacity for photoprotection under high light conditions. Allometry analyses showed that R. typhina invested more in height growth than the other two species, pointing to its investment strategy in light acquisition. The low leaf nitrogen-to-phosphorus ratio may be associated with the fast growth of R. typhina. Additionally, R. typhina allocated more biomass to photosynthetic leaves than did the other two species. The preferential investment strategies and traits associated with light acquisition may help explain the invasiveness of R. typhina.
KeywordsAlien species Allometry Plant invasion Plant trait Rhus typhina
We thank the two anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful comments, which helped improve the manuscript. This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 31400173, 31470402, 31770361) and the Basic Work of the Ministry of Science and Technology, China (No. 2015FY1103003-02).
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
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