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Bromus inermis, Clonal, Guerilla, Pascopyrum smithii, Phalanx, Northern Great Plains


Invasive clonal species may exhibit different growth strategies than their native clonal competitors. In this study, we examined the spatial distribution of tiller outgrowth and the bud bank by comparing the investment in phalanx versus guerilla growth of a native and invasive perennial grass in North America. We also examined the efect of altered precipitation frequency, clipping, and competition on their clonal growth strategies. Investment in phalanx and guerilla growth was assessed by examining live propagule and tiller production from the plant crown versus its rhizomes. Although invasive Bromus inermis and native Pascopyrum smithii exhibited similar clonal growth strategies as young seedlings, their clonal growth strategies signifcantly difered by the end of their frst growing season. Pascopyrum smithii invested in dual phalanx and guerilla tiller outgrowth and bud placement, and B. inermis primarily invested in phalanx tiller outgrowth and bud placement. Competition rather than intra-annual precipitation variability and clipping altered the clonal growth strategy of these species. Intra- and inter- specifc competition did not alter tiller outgrowth for either species. However, inter-specifc competition caused both species to alter their bud placement. Bromus inermis shifted more buds from phalanx to guerilla positions while P. smithii shifted in the opposite direction. This may enable invasive B. inermis to expand while confning native P. smithii to more localized areas in the future. Clonal growth strategies appear to be species specifc and responsive to inter-specifc competition. Investigating the belowground bud aspect of clonal growth can reveal the mechanism driving the future aboveground clonal growth strategy of native and invasive rhizomatous grasses and help inform the patterns of invasion within a plant community.

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Folia Geobot

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