Biological Invasions (2011) 13, 747-756

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Hua Yu, Jian Liu, Wei-Ming He, Shi-Li Miao and Ming Dong (2011)
Cuscuta australis restrains three exotic invasive plants and benefits native species
Biological Invasions 13 (3), 747-756
Abstract: In this study we conducted field investigations to examine the effects of native Cuscuta australis on three exotic invasive plants (i.e. Ipomoea cairica, Mikania micrantha, and Wedelia trilobata) and on the invaded native communities. The results showed that C. australis produced high infection rates on the exotic invasive hosts but low ones on the native species. Furthermore, the results showed that C. australis exhibited vigorous growth and high reproduction when it grew on M. micrantha and W. trilobata, indicating that these exotic invasive plants are more rewarding hosts than are native plants for C. australis. C. australis infection was positively related to the growth traits (e.g. biomass, cover, and total leaf area) and nutrient contents (e.g. N, P, and K) of the exotic invasive plants. The infections of C. australis significantly decreased the growth and nutrient contents of exotic invasive hosts, and the host-parasite interactions benefited the native species with increased species richness and biodiversity, facilitating the recovery of invaded native communities. This study provides a model for a native agent to both resist exotic invasive plants and benefit other native species. Furthermore, it indicates that certain native agents in invaded regions can be an effective and environmentally benign alternative to traditional biological control.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
environment - cropping system/rotation

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Mikania micrantha (weed)
Cuscuta obtusiflora (weed)
Ipomoea cairica (weed)