Roos, K; Rollenbeck, R; Peters, T; Bendix, J; Beck, E: Growth of Tropical Bracken (Pteridium arachnoideum): Response to Weather Variations and Burning., Invasive Plant Science and Management, 3, 402-411 (2010), doi:10.1614/IPSM-D-09-00031.1
The ecology of tropical bracken, which occurs in tropical regions, is not well known. We studied its response to weather variations and burning in the south Ecuadorian Andes, where this weed had already overgrown 40% of the pastureland. In field observations, a constant 1 : 1 ratio of emerging and dying leaves suggested limitation of frond density by nutrient shortage. Short-term deviations from that ratio could be related to weather variations. Spells of dry weather temporarily increased mortality but stimulated emergence of new fronds. Lifespan of the fronds produced immediately after a fire was longer than of those produced during unaffected bracken growth. A burst of frond development during the initial 2 to 3 mo was observed after a fire followed by self-thinning to a stable level. To analyze the effect of fire on bracken, rhizomes were treated with heat pulses. Rhizomes were heat tolerant up to 70 C, and frond production from short shoots was enhanced by elevated temperature. Burning apparently releases apical dominance of developed fronds, as does cutting, and stimulates bud break. The local practice of pasture maintenance in Ecuador of repeated burning favors growth of the fern.

last modified 2020-10-13