Arabidopsis competitors

Hilary Callahan hcallahan at
Mon Feb 28 14:46:43 EST 2000

plants that coexist with Arabidopsis
in the wild and may compete with it for light or soil resources?


I have done field experiments with Arabidopsis, and scouted quite a few
sites where it "grows wild." It favors disturbed areas, and especially the
margins of agricultural fields and agricultural fields that are fallow or
very nutrient-depleted.

My work was in the south (east-central Tennessee), and in that region the
plant is a strict winter annual. So, other things that you'll find growing
there are winter-growing and winter- or early-spring-flowering. Especially

hen-bit (Lamium amplexicaule)
dead-nettle (Lamium purpureum)
chick-weed (Stellaria media)
bitter cress (Cardamine arvense)
speedwell (Veronica persica)
Shepherd's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)

Also, wild garlic, weedy clovers, and weedy grasses. For example, in one
hay field there was a fair amount of the weedy Sorghum that goes by the
common name "Johnson grass." Nasty stuff.

In moist areas, mosses can smother a small rosette. (Mnium? I'm not sure
because I really don't know my mosses). A good-sized earthworm tailing can
likewise smother a small rosette.

Keep in mind that both the phenology of Arabidopsis flowering and the
co-existing community will vary a lot regionally. But some of these weeds,
like Arabidopsis, are quite cosmopolitan.

You will probably need to collect seeds locally in wild, as these are
really scrubby little weed species that no seed company would sell. Good

Hilary Callahan
Assistant Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
Barnard College, Columbia University
3009 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
212-854-5405, fax -1950

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