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The Role of Chemical Inhibition (Allelopathy) in Vegetational Composition

Cornelius H. Muller
Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club
Vol. 93, No. 5 (Sep. - Oct., 1966), pp. 332-351
Published by: Torrey Botanical Society
DOI: 10.2307/2483447
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2483447
Page Count: 20
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The Role of Chemical Inhibition (Allelopathy) in Vegetational Composition
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Abstract

Salvia leucophylla, Artemisia californica, and other aromatic shrubs of Southern California contain phytotoxic terpenes which volatilize and inhibit the establishment of seedlings of a wide variety of plants at some distance from the shrubs. Similarly, Adenostema fasciculata and associated shrubs of the California Chaparral produce water-soluble toxins which restrict herbs from the shrub stands. These phenomena strongly indicate that allelopathy is an important influence in the operation of ecological processes and that this factor must be included in any acceptable model of community dynamics. The deterioration of old Salvia stands, apparently by auto-intoxication, suggests that allelopathy could be a significant factor in plant succession in many kinds of vegetation. It is hypothesized that most phytotoxins originate in plants as metabolic by-products whose role is primarily excretory and only secondarily inhibition of neighboring competitors.

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