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Invasion of Microstegium vimineum (Poaceae), An Exotic, Annual, Shade-Tolerant, C4 Grass, into a North Carolina Floodplain
Lawrence S. Barden
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 118, No. 1 (Jul., 1987), pp. 40-45
Published by: The University of Notre Dame
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2425626
Page Count: 6
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Microstegium vimineum, an Asian annual C4 grass that is very shadetolerant, has invaded floodplains, streambanks and adjacent mesic slopes in the North Carolina Piedmont during the past 30 years. A 3-year study of its invasive characteristics revealed that M. vimineum is slow to invade undisturbed vegetation, but rapidly fills disturbed, mesic, shaded areas, such as streamsides where floods scour existing vegetation or sewer-line rights-of-way which are mown once a year. Its seeds remain viable for at least 3 years in the soil seedbank and rapidly germinate to produce a new cohort if a disturbance removes an existing cohort. On fertile floodplain sites, soil fertilization in March had no effect on seed production in October. When M. vimineum seeds were sown into existing vegetation, seed production was negatively correlated with soil potassium, calcium, silt and pH, probably because the more fertile sites also supported a denser ground vegetation layer. These qualities, in addition to its cleistogamous or apomictic reproduction, help explain how M. vimineum has spread throughout the eastern U.S. since its introduction approximately 70 years ago.
The American Midland Naturalist © 1987 The University of Notre Dame