Allelopathic mechanisms of velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti Medic., Malvaceae) on Soybean


Sampling in a soybean field established that presence of velvetleaf (A. theophrasti) weeds interfered with soybean production. Number of soybean pods and number of pods/stem were significantly lower in transect segments adjacent to velvetleaf plants. In bioassays for phytotoxicity of velvetleaf, several dilutions of aqueous extracts from fresh field‐collected leaves depressed germination of radish seeds and inhibited growth of soybean seedlings. Seed germination bioassays from eluates of chromatograms developed in one dimension showed that two of three bands containing phenolic compounds were inhibitory to radish seed germination. Soybeans inhibited by aqueous velvetleaf extracts had increased diffusive resistance, suggesting partial stomatal closure. Inhibited plants also gave evidence of water stress, with leaf water potentials often as low as –20 bars and reduced water content, when compared with controls. Quantification of chlorophyll on a leaf area basis showed that chlorophyll of inhibited plants was below controls. These data demonstrate the allelopathic potential of velvetleaf and suggest that interference with water balance and chlorophyll content may be two mechanisms of inhibitory action of toxins present in the leaves of velvetleaf.


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American Journal of Botany