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Reproductive Strategy, Performance, and Population Dynamics of the Introduced Weed Black Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger)

  • Christa E. Fettig (a1) and Ruth A. Hufbauer (a1)

Abstract

Determining whether and how to manage an introduced species requires basic ecological and biological knowledge. If a decision is made to actively manage an invader, doing so efficiently and effectively is critical. Basic biological or ecological information can be key in designing effective and cost-efficient management approaches. We used a greenhouse experiment and observational field studies of naturalized populations to study the modes of pollination, fecundity in the field, seed ecology, population dynamics, and demography of the introduced and toxic weed, black henbane. We showed that henbane was able to self-pollinate. Furthermore, outcrossing did not increase number or size of seeds. Plants in the sampled populations produced an estimated average of 25,300±4,004 seeds by the middle of the growing season. We found no difference in the viability of field-collected seeds that were 1 to 4 yr old. The number of flowering plants in a population was best predicted by the number of rosettes at that location in July of the previous year. The probability of rosettes surviving over the winter to reach reproductive maturity increased with precipitation and growing degree days. Total population sizes fluctuated dramatically between years. Henbane populations are ephemeral, but with large seed banks, outbreaks are possible if conditions are right. Given that this weed is toxic to livestock and humans, it is important to identify infestations and manage populations.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author’s E-mail: christafettig@gmail.com

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Associate Editor for this paper: J. Anita Dille, Kansas State University.

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Keywords

Reproductive Strategy, Performance, and Population Dynamics of the Introduced Weed Black Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger)

  • Christa E. Fettig (a1) and Ruth A. Hufbauer (a1)

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