Sulfur cinquefoil (family Rosaceae) is an invasive, herbaceous perennial, native to Eurasia. It has wide ecological amplitude and has become established throughout North America in numerous habitat types. Sulfur cinquefoil reproduces only by seed (achenes); however, little is known about its regenerative strategy or reproductive biology. To improve understanding of the mechanisms of expansion for sulfur cinquefoil, we quantified seed production and measured seed dispersal at sites infested with sulfur cinquefoil in different habitats in northeast Oregon. Seed dispersal was measured by using sticky traps (30 × 100 cm, replaced every 2 weeks) radiating in 4 cardinal directions from individual source plants. Estimated seed production for 2 years (2001 and 2002) was nearly 4 times higher than previously reported (≈6 000 seeds per plant; range ≈ 2 620–15 150 seeds per plant). For most sites, seed production was similar in both years. However, site, year, and their interaction (site × year) had significant influence on flower and stem production. Seeds were dispersed from July through mid-October 2001, although almost 40% of the seeds were captured between mid-July and mid-August. Dispersal followed a classic decay function; approximately 83% of the seeds were captured within 60 cm of the source plants. Once sulfur cinquefoil reaches a site, it appears to spread and persist by releasing numerous seeds near the parent plants, thereby forming increasingly dense stands.
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Vol. 59 • No. 1