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Am J Bot. 2008 Nov;95(11):1416-25. doi: 10.3732/ajb.0800184.

Effects of Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard; Brassicaceae) on mycorrhizal colonization and community structure in three herbaceous plants in a mixed deciduous forest.

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  • 1The Holden Arboretum, 9500 Sperry Road, Kirtland, Ohio 44094 USA.


Herbaceous plant species are important components of forest ecosystems, and their persistence in forests may be affected by invasive plant species that reduce mycorrhizal colonization of plant roots. I examined the effect of the invasive plant Alliaria petiolata on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) colonizing the roots of three forest plant species. AMF root colonization and community structure was examined from plants that were growing either in the absence or presence of Alliaria under natural forest conditions. AMF root colonization varied among the plant species but was not significantly affected by Alliaria. With molecular methods, ∼12 different taxa of AMF could be distinguished among the root samples, and these taxa belonged to the genera Acaulospora and Glomus, with Glomus dominating AMF communities. There were significant differences between the community of AMF colonizing roots of Maianthemum racemosum and Trillium grandiflorum, but only AMF communities of Maianthemum roots were significantly affected by Alliaria. Indicator species analysis found that an Acaulospora species type was a significant indicator of Maianthemum plants grown in the absence of Alliaria. These results suggest invasive plants like Alliaria may selectively suppress AMF fungi, and this suppression can affect AMF communities colonizing the roots of some native plant species.

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