Chinese tallow tree (Triadica sebifera) is arguably one of the most deleterious exotic invasive plants in the southern United States, where it alters ecosystem structure and function, especially near the Gulf Coast. Chinese tallow continues to expand into riparian floodplain forests, which likely facilitate regional invasion by dispersing seeds during seasonal flooding and providing corridors of favorable habitat. We attempted to estimate existing Chinese tallow soil seedbank presence and density in a bottomland hardwood forest located at Old Sabine Bottom Wildlife Management Area (OSBWMA) in northeastern Texas, where heavy infestation has not occurred to date, though mature seed-bearing trees are present regionally. No Chinese tallow seeds were detected across the study area, despite the occurrence of mature, seed-bearing plants on adjacent properties. Based on this lack of detected seeds, combined with the lack of observed Chinese tallow plants at OSBWMA, it appears the species continues to occur at low densities within apparently suitable habitats in northeastern Texas, perhaps reflecting a lack of en masse water-mediated dispersal into the region due to its upstream location in relation to heavily infested areas further south.
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Vol. 35 • No. 4