Allelopathic potential of Lolium rigidum Gaud. on the early growth of three associated pasture species
San Emeterio, L. | Arroyo, A. | Canals, R.M.
In Mediterranean areas, the establishment of multi-species pastures for extensive livestock use is an alternative to the growing of traditional cereal crops. Lolium rigidum Gaud. is one of the most valuable forage grasses adapted to semiarid environments but its performance in mixtures is not fully understood. Field observations suggest that the species exerts allelopathic effects, although there is no evidence in the literature to support this assumption. The objective of the study was to determine whether L. rigidum affects the germination and seedling growth of common forage species by allelopathic means. Two bioassays were conducted to test for the allelopathic potential of seeds and adult (shoot and root) tissues of L. rigidum on two grasses, Lolium multiflorum Lam. and Dactylis glomerata L., and a legume, Medicago sativa L. The three species showed different degrees of sensitivity to L. rigidum with L. multiflorum being particularly sensitive to allelopathy. Positive and negative effects of L. rigidum on seedling development were noted. Shoot extracts of L. rigidum displayed the most consistent negative effects by inhibiting elongation of the radicle of the three target species. The significance of the results is that in drought-prone environments and where water resources are scarce poor root development decreases the ability of the plants to grow and survive.Show more [+] Less [-]