Saturday, January 23, 2010

Effects of Lantana camara on soil properties and neighboring plants

Lantana camara Linn, locally called Utot-utot, Koronitas or Kantotoy in the Philippines, is a shrub which originated from tropical America. It is considered as one of the worst invasive plant species and is a noxious weed in many parts of the world.

The plant is known to suppress the regeneration of neighboring plants through allelopathic effects (by releasing volatile and non-volatile chemicals from its tissues and residues). The spread of Lantana is aided by the characteristic of its leaves which is somewhat poisonous to animals while its fruit is a delicacy for many birds which distribute the seeds (Wikipedia).

In a recent study published in Geoderma journal, Ling Fan and co-workers evaluated the chemical and microbiological properties of the soil underneath the canopy of Lantana camara as well as the soil away from it. They also investigated the effect of Lantana on the growth of three neighboring plant species (ryegrass, mungbean, and radish).

Results revealed that the soils underneath the canopy of Lantana had higher pH, total N, total P, available N and available P than the soils on the edge of the canopy and 2-5 m away from the Lantana plant. Soil respiration, enzyme activities, and microbial biomass N and P were higher in the soils underneath the canopy of Lantana than that away from it.

The study showed that Lantana camara improved soil fertility, accelerated N and P cycles, utilized carbon substrate more effectively, had higher functional diversity and did not inhibit the growth of the neighboring plant species.

Ling Fan, Yan Chen, Jian-gang Yuan and Zhong-yi Yang. 2010. The effect of Lantana camara Linn invasion on soil chemical and microbiological properties and plant biomass accumulation in southern China. Geoderma 154: 370-378.


Herve said...

we've got loads of those growing near my parents in law, in mountain province. I never guessed it could actually improve soil fertility!

Victor B. Asio said...

Thanks a lot for the comment and information!

Anonymous said...

Reseaching on how it can improve soil fertility and has worked in some parts of kenya.Thanks for the information.