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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Invasive Species and Pollinator Health » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #348037

Research Project: Enhancing Water Resources Stewardship through Aquatic and Riparian Weed Management

Location: Invasive Species and Pollinator Health

Title: Effects of initial propagule size and water depth on Butomus umbellatus L. growth and vegetative propagation

Author
item Carter, Christian - Mississippi State University
item Ervin, Gary - Mississippi State University
item Madsen, John

Submitted to: Aquatic Botany
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2018
Publication Date: 6/26/2018
Citation: Carter, C., Ervin, G., Madsen, J.D. 2018. Effects of initial propagule size and water depth on Butomus umbellatus L. growth and vegetative propagation. Aquatic Botany. 150:27-32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aquabot.2018.06.003.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aquabot.2018.06.003

Interpretive Summary: Our manipulative experiment confirms a previous observational study, that the vegetative growth and asexual propagule production in flowering rush declines in water depths of more than 50 cm (1.5 feet), and that flowering rush is capable of aggressive clonal growth and propagation from both rhizome buds and rhizome fragments.

Technical Abstract: Over the last century, flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus L.: Butomaceae) has escaped its native Eurasian range and has become a problematic species in parts of North America. As an aquatic invasive species, flowering rush has degraded native wetlands in introduced areas and has interfered with human water usage. Although experimental work has been published regarding the reproductive biology of the species, few empirical studies regarding the ecology of the species were found in the literature. The research reported here demonstrates that flowering rush is capable of aggressive clonal growth and propagation, whether from vegetative rhizome buds or from fragments of rhizomes themselves. This species was capable of growth along a depth gradient from zero to 132cm and showed an ability to adjust biomass allocation along that gradient. However, biomass and asexual propagule production declined at depths beyond approximately 50cm, in line with in-situ observations from established populations. The combination of regrowth from relatively small propagules, ability to tolerate depths of greater than one meter, and plasticity of biomass allocation along habitat gradients make this species a potential threat in many aquatic and wetland habitats in its introduced range.