Oplismenus undulatifolius (Wavyleaf Basket grass) Research

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Kepner, C., & Beauchamp, V. (2020). Interspecific competitive potential of wavyleaf basketgrass (Oplismenus undulatifolius), a recent introduction to the mid-Atlantic United States. Invasive Plant Science and Management, 13(1), 23-29. doi:10.1017/inp.2020.3

Understanding the mechanisms by which an invasive plant species is able to colonize and successfully expand into native plant communities can help in estimating the potential threat posed by a new invader and predict impacts on community diversity, structure, and function. Wavyleaf basketgrass [Oplismenus undulatifolius (Ard.) P. Beauv.] is a perennial, shade-tolerant grass species that has been recently introduced to the mid-Atlantic United States. Areas invaded by O. undulatifolius typically have low species richness, but it is unknown whether O. undulatifoius actively outcompetes other species or simply thrives primarily in species-poor habitats. This study used a greenhouse experiment to quantify interspecific competition in shade and sun among seedlings of O. undulatifolius; Japanese stiltgrass [Microstegium vimineum (Trin.) A. Camus], an invasive annual grass common in the region; and a mix of three native perennial grass species commonly used in restoring areas invaded by M. vimineum. In this experiment, shade did not significantly affect growth or competitive ability. Interspecific competition irrespective of shade had a negative effect on growth of all species, but O. undulatifolius was affected to a much greater degree than either M. vimineum or the native grass mix. These results suggest that, at least under these conditions, O. undulatifolius is a weak interspecific competitor and may be capable of forming dense monotypic stands only in areas that already have low species diversity. In the mid-Atlantic region, postagricultural legacies and overabundant deer populations, which lead to depauperate understories, may be a major facilitator of O. undulatifolius invasion in forests.

Summaries and Reviews

Vanessa B. Beauchamp and Stephanie M. Koontz "An introduction to Oplismenus undulatifolius (Ard.) Roem. & Schult. (wavyleaf basketgrass), a recent invader in Mid-Atlantic forest understories," The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 140(4), 391-413, (1 October 2013). https://doi.org/10.3159/TORREY-D-13-00033.1

A critical aspect of early-stage invasive species management is determining the niche and assessing the impact of a new species. A multi-scale strategy to predict potential habitat and impacts at the ecosystem, community and species level presents a robust, efficient, and cost effective tool for invasive species management. Regional scale maximum entropy modeling and local scale field studies were used to characterize species-environment and species-species interactions of Oplismenus undulatifolius, a recent invader in Mid-Atlantic forest understories. Oplismenus undulatifolius was first discovered in the U.S. near Baltimore, Maryland in 1996 and is currently found in 13 counties in Maryland and Virginia. At the landscape scale the USDA estimates that 30 percent of the U.S. is suitable for the establishment of O. undulatifolius. Regional scale modeling indicated that 22% of the area modeled was suitable for O. undulatifolius, with 1% highly suitable. Local scale field studies indicated that O. undulatifolius thrives at low light levels (211 mols m-2 day-1) across a wide range of litter depths (06 cm) and that light and litter depth are involved in dominance of O. undulatifolius over Microstegium vimineum. Interactions with Fagus grandifolia result in decreased O. undulatifolius cover and dominance, and areas of high O. undulatifolius cover typically have low species richness. Oplismenus undulatifolius has the ability to invade a far greater portion of the forest than M. vimineum, and more research on the community and ecosystem-level effects of this new invasive forest understory species is needed.

Penulis: A. Sunjian