Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Soil characteristics drive Ficaria verna abundance and reproductive output

  • Justin P. Kermack (a1) and Emily S. J. Rauschert (a2)

Abstract

Lesser celandine (Ficaria verna Huds.), an invasive plant from Europe, is becoming widespread in river valleys throughout the northeastern United States and the Pacific Northwest. Its high rate of asexual bulbil and tuber production creates dense infestations threatening native spring ephemerals. Ficaria verna abundance and reproductive output (seeds, bulbils, and tubers) were examined in invaded transects spanning a disturbance gradient away from a river. Site characteristics (photosynthetically active radiation [PAR], soil pH, moisture, texture, and nutrients) were quantified to examine their roles in plant abundance and reproduction. A larger-scale study examined random transects not specifically chosen based on F. verna infestations. Soil characteristics and slope were hypothesized to drive F. verna abundance and reproduction; we also hypothesized that reproductive output and biomass would be highest at intermediate distances from rivers, where disturbances are infrequent. Ficaria verna abundance and reproductive output varied considerably by site; soil characteristics, rather than landscape placement, appeared to drive plant abundance and reproduction. Lower percent sand was associated with significantly higher F. verna stem density and bulbil and tuber production. CEC was significantly negatively related to F. verna biomass and tuber counts. In the larger-scale survey, slope and PAR were significantly negatively related to F. verna presence and percent cover, respectively. Overall, these findings suggest that soil texture and slope can help explain higher abundance and reproductive outputs. However, reproductive output and biomass were not significantly greater at intermediate distances, contrary to expectations. We did not observe any seed production in any of the plots, although we did see a few plants with seeds outside our study area in the second year, demonstrating a near-complete reliance on asexual reproduction in these populations. This study expands on the current limited understanding of F. verna and can help management by identifying areas likely to support dense infestations.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Emily S. J. Rauschert, Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, Cleveland State University, 2121 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115. (Email: e.rauschert@csuohio.edu)

Footnotes

Hide All

Associate Editor: Jacob N. Barney, Virginia Tech

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Arizaga, S, Ezcurra, E (1995) Insurance against reproductive failure in a semelparous plant: bulbil formation in Agave macroacantha flowering stalks. Oecologia 101:329334
Axtell, AE, DiTommaso, A, Post, AR (2010) Lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria): a threat to woodland habitats in the Northern United States and Southern Canada. Invasive Plant Sci Manag 3:190196
Badri, MA, Minchin, PE, Lapointe, L (2007) Effects of temperature on the growth of spring ephemerals: Crocus vernus . Physiol Plant 130:6776
Barrett, SCH (2015) Influences of clonality on plant sexual reproduction. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112:88598866
Bates, D, Maechler, M, Bolker, B, Walker, S (2015) Fitting linear mixed-effects models using lme4. J Stat Softw 67:148
Daubenmire, RF (1959) A canopy-cover method of vegetational analysis. Northwest Sci 33:4346
Deng, T, Kim, C, Zhang, D, Zhang, J, Li, Z, Nie, Z, Sun, H (2013) Zhengyia shennongensis: a new bulbiliferous genus and species of the nettle family (Urticaceae) from central China exhibiting parallel evolution of the bulbil trait. Taxon 62:8999
Gee, GW, Bauder, JW (1979) Particle size analysis by hydrometer: a simplified method for routine textural analysis and a sensitivity test of measurement parameters. Soil Sci Soc Am J 43:10041007
Harrison, S (1999) Local and regional diversity in a patchy landscape: native, alien, and endemic herbs on serpentine. Ecology 80:7080
Hillmer, J, Garman, B (2016) Lesser celandine. Cleveland Metroparks Invasive Plants Atlas. http://cleveland-metroparks.github.io/atlas/contact/contact.html. Accessed: October 1, 2015
Hobbs, RJ, Humphries, SE (1995) An integrated approach to the ecology and management of plant invasions. Conserv Biol 9:761770
Howard, TG, Gurevitch, J, Hyatt, L, Carreiro, M, Lerdau, M (2004) Forest invasibility in communities in southeastern New York. Biol Invasions 6:393410
Jose, S, Singh, HP, Batish, DR, Kohli, RK, eds (2013) Invasive Plant Ecology. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. 302 p
Jung, F, Bohning-Gaese, K, Prinzing, A (2008) Life history variation across a riverine landscape: intermediate levels of disturbance favor sexual reproduction in the ant-dispersed herb Ranunculus ficaria . Ecography 31:776786
Kertabad, S, Mohassel, MH, Mahalati, MN, Gherekhloo, J (2013) Some biological aspects of the weed lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria). Planta Daninha 31:577585
Kidd, PS, Proctor, J (2001) Why plants grow poorly on very acid soils: are ecologists missing the obvious? J Exp Bot 52:791799
Kuznetsova, A, Brockhoff, PB, Christensen, RHB (2017) lmerTest package: tests in linear mixed effects models. J Stat Softw 82:126
Leyer, I (2005) Predicting plant species’ responses to river regulation: the role of water level fluctuations. J Appl Ecol 42:239250
Lite, SJ, Bagstad, KJ, Stromberg, JC (2005) Riparian plant species richness along lateral and longitudinal gradients of water stress and flood disturbance, San Pedro River, Arizona, USA. J Arid Environ 63:785813
Mack, J (2008) Workplan for Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) Control in Rocky River Reservation. Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Metroparks Technical Report 2008/NR-05. 15 p
Marsden-Jones, EM (1935) Ranunculus ficaria Linn: life-history and pollination. J Linn Soc Lond Bot 50:3955
Masters, JA, Emery, SM (2015a) Leaf litter depth has only a small influence on Ranunculus ficaria (Ranunculaceae) biomass and reproduction. Am Midl Nat 173:3037
Masters, JA, Emery, SM (2015b) The showy invasive plant Ranunculus ficaria facilitates pollinator activity, pollen deposition, but not always seed production for two native spring ephemeral plants. Biol Invasions 17:23292337
Masters, JA, Emery, SM (2016) Do multiple mechanisms drive the dominance of an invasive plant (Ranunculus ficaria, Ranunculaceae) along an urban stream? J Torrey Bot Soc 143:359366
Mortensen, DA, Rauschert, ESJ, Nord, AN, Jones, BP (2009) The role of roads in plant invasions. Invasive Plant Sci Manag 2:191199
Porazinska, DL, Bardgett, RD, Blaauw, MB, Hunt, HW, Parsons, AN, Seastedt, TR, Wall, DH (2003) Relationships at the aboveground–belowground interface: plants, soil biota, and soil processes. Ecol Monogr 73:377395
R Development Core Team (2011) R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. Vienna, Austria: R Foundation for Statistical Computing
Roxburgh, SH, Shea, K, Wilson, J (2004) The intermediate disturbance hypothesis: patch dynamics and mechanisms of species coexistence. Ecology 85:359371
Swearingen, JM (2005) Lesser celandine. Plant Conservation Alliance Alien Plant Working Group. https://www.nps.gov/plants/ALIEn/fact/rafi1.htm. Accessed: September 20, 2016
Tsui, CC, Chen, ZS, Hsieh, CF (2004) Relationships between soil properties and slope position in a lowland rain forest of southern Taiwan. Geoderma 123:131142
Underwood, EC, Klinger, R, Moore, PE (2004) Predicting patterns of non-native plant invasions in Yosemite National Park, California, USA. Divers Distrib 10:447459
Van Eck, WH, Van de Steeg, HM, Blom, CW, De Kroon, H (2004) Is tolerance to summer flooding correlated with distribution patterns in river floodplains? A comparative study of 20 terrestrial grassland species. Oikos 107:393405
Venables, WN, Ripley, BD (2002) Modern Applied Statistics with S. 4th ed. New York: Springer. 497 p
Yoshie, F (2008) Effects of growth temperature and winter duration on leaf phenology of a spring ephemeral (Gagea lutea) and a summergreen forb (Maianthemum dilatatum). J Plant Res 121:483492
Zuur, AF, Ieno, EN, Walker, NJ, Saveliev, AA, Smith, GM (2009) Mixed Effect Models and Extension in Ecology with R. New York: Springer. 529 p

Keywords

Soil characteristics drive Ficaria verna abundance and reproductive output

  • Justin P. Kermack (a1) and Emily S. J. Rauschert (a2)

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed