Study: Invasive species kills soil fungus

April 25, 2006

U.S. scientists, part of an international research team, say hardwood trees are being harmed by an invasive weed spreading across the nation.

The weed harms native maples, ashes and other hardwood trees by releasing chemicals that kill a soil fungus the trees depend on for growth and survival.

The tree-stifling alien, garlic mustard -- Alliaria petiolata -- was first introduced into the eastern United States in the 1860s. It since has spread into Canada and 30 states in the East and Midwest, with recent sightings as far west as Oregon.

While many mechanisms have been proposed to explain the success of invasive species, the new study is the first to determine an invasive plant harms native plants by thwarting the biological "friends" upon which they depend for growth.

The study was conducted by researchers at Harvard University, the University of Guelph, the University of Montana, Purdue University, and the UFZ Center for Environmental Research in Germany.

The research appears in the current issue of the Public Library of Science.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Spread by trade and climate, bugs butcher America's forests

Related Stories

Spread by trade and climate, bugs butcher America's forests

December 7, 2016

In a towering forest of centuries-old eastern hemlocks, it's easy to miss one of the tree's nemeses. No larger than a speck of pepper, the Hemlock woolly adelgid spends its life on the underside of needles sucking sap, eventually ...

Geneticists on cutting edge of effort to save ash trees

November 21, 2016

When Kim Steiner created an ash plantation on the edge of Penn State's University Park campus in 1978, few Americans thought about "climate change," no one had heard of the emerald ash borer, and the Yankees beat the Dodgers ...

Using sound to stop destructive beetles in their tracks

November 30, 2016

What would the paradise of Hawaii be without swaying coconut palms, with succulent fruit that is almost synonymous with the tropical island? Unfortunately, that may be the future of the island unless scientists find some ...

Nanotechnology a 'green' approach to treating liver cancer

November 29, 2016

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 700,000 new cases of liver cancer are diagnosed worldwide each year. Currently, the only cure for the disease is to surgically remove the cancerous part of the liver or ...

Recommended for you

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.