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The Ecological Impact of Allelopathy in Ailanthus altissima (Simaroubaceae)

Jeffrey G. Lawrence, Alison Colwell and Owen J. Sexton
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 78, No. 7 (Jul., 1991), pp. 948-958
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2445173
Page Count: 11
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The Ecological Impact of Allelopathy in Ailanthus altissima (Simaroubaceae)
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Abstract

Compounds inhibitory to the growth of neighboring plant species were found in significant concentrations in the leaves and stems of young Ailanthus altissima ramets. The surrounding soil also contained appreciable concentrations of similarly acting toxins. Individuals of neighboring plant species have either incorporated active portions of inhibitory compounds or responded to Ailanthus by producing growth-inhibiting substances. Under greenhouse conditions, individuals of neighboring plant species previously unexposed to Ailanthus in the field were found to be more susceptible to the Ailanthus toxins than individuals previously exposed. Moreover, seeds produced by unexposed populations were also more susceptible to Ailanthus toxins than seeds produced by previously exposed populations. These differences demonstrated that the allelochemicals of Ailanthus altissima exhibited a measurable impact upon neighboring plant species. Since the progeny of these populations displayed a differential response to Ailanthus toxin, this phenotypic difference between the two populations may have a heritable basis.

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