Leicht-Young, Stacey A. , Pavlovic, Noel , Grundel, Ralph , Potts, Krystalynn J. .
Differentiating oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) and American bittersweet (C. scandens) using morphological and molecular methods.
Celastrus orbiculatus is an invasive temperate liana introduced from eastern Asia into the Northeastern United States in the 1860s. It can blanket the vegetation it grows on, causing damage to trees by weighing down the branches and by girdling the trunks. However, its native congener, C. scandens, is declining in the Northeast. In the Midwestern and Western United States, C. scandens is still abundant and can even grow adjacent to invasive C. orbiculatus in certain habitats such as the sand dune/forest ecotone. Where both species occur, vegetative identification of the two species in the field can be highly ambiguous. Using morphological characteristics of both species growing naturally along a sand dune/forest ecotone, we built models for use in predicting which species was present given a suite of leaf and fruit traits. We confirmed that the two species can be discriminated effectively using fruit characters, notably fruit volume and seed number. Several leaf traits, such as length to width ratio and specific leaf area (SLA) can also discriminate between the species, but without the same predictive reliability of fruit traits. We also determined that in mid-spring, the two species have different patterns of leaf-out. Finally, RFLPs enabled rapid identification of the two species via different DNA banding patterns. The results of this study allows for successful delineation of these two species in the field, with potential use in conservation applications.
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1 - U. S. Geological Survey, 1100 N. Mineral Springs Rd., Porter, IN, 46304
2 - 1100 N Mineral Springs Rd, Porter, Indiana, 46304, USA
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Location: Boulevard A/Hilton
Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2007
Time: 10:00 AM