Invasive species are frequently regarded as Superlative competitors that can vegetatively crowd Out natives, but little is known about whether invasives call compete for pollination services with native plants. We hypothesized that, when the showy invasive species Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) was present, pollinator visitation and seed set would be reduced in a native congener, L. alatum (winged loosestrife). To test this hypothesis, we constructed mixed and monospecific plots of the two species. Over two years of study, we found that L. salicaria significantly reduced both pollinator visitation and seed set in L. alatum. Furthermore, pollinators moved frequently between the two plant species, which may cause heterospecific pollen transfer. Thus, reductions in both pollen quantity and pollen quality may reduce L. alatum seed set. If similar patterns occur in the field, invasive plants may be an even greater threat to natives than previously thought.
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Copyright 2002 by the Ecological Society of America
Brown, Beverly J.; Mitchell, Randall J.; and Graham, Shirley A., "Competition for Pollination Between an Invasive Species (Purple Loosestrife) and a Native Congener" (2002). Biology Faculty Research. 26.