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Biological Invasions

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 189–201 | Cite as

Latitudinal trends in growth, reproduction and defense of an invasive plant

  • Li Xiao
  • Maxime R. Hervé
  • Juli Carrillo
  • Jianqing DingEmail author
  • Wei HuangEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

Invasive plants often occupy an array of habitats along wide latitudinal scales which differ considerably in climatic conditions and herbivory. Variation in plant traits across latitude may play an important role in invasion success, yet few studies have tested whether there is a latitudinal pattern in invasive plant traits. Here, we sampled individuals of the invasive plant Phytolacca americana at 15 field sites spanning 10° of latitude from 25.72° to 36.15°N in central and southern China. We measured traits related to growth (plant height, canopy width, number of branches and stem diameter), reproduction (fruits per raceme and racemes per plant) and anti-herbivory defense (leaf, stem, root and fruit saponin). Overall, we found no latitudinal patterns for plant size, reproductive output or defense in growth tissues. However, growth architecture was significantly related to latitude: number of stems increased, while stem diameter decreased with increasing latitude. Reproductive architecture was also significantly related to latitude: with increasing latitude, plants produced fewer fruits per raceme, but more racemes per plant. We also found defense in reproductive tissue (fruit saponin) increased with increasing latitude. These findings provide an important latitudinal perspective for resource allocation and adaptive strategy in invasive P. americana that may aid in management recommendations at regional scales.

Keywords

Environmental heterogeneity Latitudinal gradient Biotic pressures Phytolacca americana Plant invasion Temperature and Precipitation 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Jian Zhang for her assistance in the field. We also thank Van Driesche Scientific Editing for revising the manuscript and providing helpful scientific input. This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program (2017YFC1200100, to J. Ding), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31470447 to W. Huang) and the Youth Innovation Promotion Association of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Y329351H03 to W. Huang).

Author contributions

JD and WH conceived the project and designed experiments. LX and WH carried out field survey. WH and MRH analyzed data with interpretation from all authors. All authors wrote the first draft of the manuscript and revised subsequent versions.

Supplementary material

10530_2018_1816_MOESM1_ESM.docx (87 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 86 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Aquatic Botany and Watershed Ecology, Wuhan Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.INRA, UMR1349 IGEPPLe RheuFrance
  4. 4.Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Biodiversity Research CentreThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  5. 5.College of Life SciencesHenan UniversityKaifengChina
  6. 6.Institute of Plant SciencesUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

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