Effects of clonal integration on photosynthesis of the invasive clonal plant Alternanthera philoxeroides

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A greenhouse experiment examined whether clonal integration improves photosynthesis of ramets of alligator weed [Alternanthera philoxeroides (Mart.) Griseb.], a widespread invasive clonal plant in China, in heterogeneous (He) nutrient habitats. The connected pairs of ramets experienced different nutrient levels [high homogeneous (Ho) nutrient, low Ho nutrient, and two He nutrient treatments]. Clonal integration significantly improved the net photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance, transpiration rate, and minimal and maximal chlorophyll fluorescence of ramets of alligator weed in low nutrient condition. These characteristics may contribute to the success of the ramets of alligator weed in invading contrasting habitats. The clonal integration of the invasive clonal plants may contribute significantly to their invasiveness.

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