Biological Invasions

, Volume 13, Issue 12, pp 2703–2714 | Cite as

Innate and evolutionarily increased advantages of invasive Eupatorium adenophorum over native E. japonicum under ambient and doubled atmospheric CO2 concentrations

  • Yan Bao Lei
  • Yu Long Feng
  • Yu Long Zheng
  • Rui Fang Wang
  • He De Gong
  • Yi Ping Zhang
Original Paper


Both innate and evolutionarily increased ecophysiological advantages can contribute to vigorous growth, and eventually to invasiveness of alien plants. Little effort has been made to explore the roles of innate factors of alien plants in invasiveness and the effects of CO2 enrichment on alien plant invasions. To address these problems, we compared invasive Eupatorium adenophorum, its native conspecific, and a native congener (E. japonicum) under ambient and doubled atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Native E. adenophorum from Mexico grew slower than invasive E. adenophorum but faster than native E. japonicum under both CO2 concentrations. The faster growth rate of invasive E. adenophorum was associated with higher photosynthetic capacity and leaf area ratio. For invasive E. adenophorum, the higher photosynthetic capacity was associated with higher nitrogen (N) allocation to photosynthesis, which was related to lower leaf mass per area; the higher leaf area ratio was due to lower leaf mass per area and higher leaf mass fraction. Tradeoff between N allocations to photosynthesis versus defenses was found. CO2 enrichment significantly increased relative growth rate and biomass accumulation by increasing actual photosynthetic rate for all studied materials. However, the relative increase in growth was not significantly different among them. CO2 enrichment did not influence N allocation to photosynthesis, but increased N allocation to cell walls. The reduced leaf N content decreased N content in photosynthesis, explaining the down-regulation of photosynthetic capacity under prolonged elevated CO2 concentration. Our results indicate that both innate and evolutionary advantages in growth and related ecophysiological traits contribute to invasiveness of invasive E. adenophorum, and CO2 enrichment may not aggravate E. adenophroum’s invasion in the future.


CO2 enrichment Defense Evolution Innate advantages Invasiveness Nitrogen allocation 



Nitrogen contents in bioenergetics




Cyanogenic glycosides


Cell walls




Light-harvesting components


All components of the photosynthetic apparatus


Total leaf nitrogen content


Light-saturated photosynthetic rate


Photosynthetic nitrogen-use efficiency



The authors are grateful to Jingdong Nature Reserve Administration Bureau and National Forest Ecosystem Research Station at Ailaoshan for logistic supports, and Yang-Ping Li, Yong-Jiang Zhang, Jin-Hua Qi, and Xin Luo for assistances in measurements. This study was founded by the Projects of Natural Science Foundation of China (30830027, 30900220), the Western Ph. D Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Applied Basic Study Project of Yunnan Province (2009CD119), and Knowledge Innovation Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (KSCX2-YW-Z-1019).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yan Bao Lei
    • 1
  • Yu Long Feng
    • 1
  • Yu Long Zheng
    • 1
    • 3
  • Rui Fang Wang
    • 1
    • 3
  • He De Gong
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Yi Ping Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesKunmingChina
  2. 2.Ailaoshan Station for Subtropical Forest Ecosystem StudiesJingdong, YunnanChina
  3. 3.Graduate University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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