Competitive effects of Phragmites australis on the endangered artesian spring endemic Eriocaulon carsonii.

Richard Davies, Duncan Mackay, Molly Whalen

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    11 Citations (Scopus)


    We investigated the relative importance of above- and below-ground competition by reeds (Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud) on the growth rate of Eriocaulon carsonii F.Muell. subsp. carsonii, an endangered plant threatened by reeds on artesian springs in Australia. Soil-filled buckets containing E. carsonii were frequently watered to simulate artesian spring conditions and subject to three treatments: (1) no Phragmites (control), (2) Phragmites (ABG), and (3) Phragmites with shoots tied back (BG). After thirteen months, Phragmites mean below-ground biomasses had increased to c. 3 kg m-2 and mean above-ground biomasses to c. 1 kg m-2. After the same period, mean root biomass of E. carsonii plants was significantly lower in buckets subject to both Phragmites treatments compared with control plants, as was E. carsonii foliage area. Comparison of the two Phragmites treatments indicated that below-ground competition was the primary cause of this reduced growth in E. carsonii. The vulnerability of E. carsonii to competitive exclusion by P. australis is in part due to the highly synchronized phenologies of the two species.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)245-249
    Number of pages5
    JournalPlant Ecology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - May 2010


    • Competition
    • Eriocaulon
    • Fen
    • Mound springs
    • Phenology
    • Phragmites
    • Threatened species
    • Wetland management


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