Woody plant species in grassland ecosystems can be subjected to damage from fire and multiple herbivore species, but interactions between fire and herbivory can modify their separate impacts on woody plant life histories. We studied how galling (by Periploca ceanothiella, Lepidoptera: Cosmopterigidae), deer browsing (Odocoilius virginianus) and fire affected the growth and reproduction of the woody shrub Ceanothus herbaceous (Rhamnaceae) on a burned and an unburned site at Konza Prairie Research Natural Area in eastern Kansas. Fire was the major influence on C. herbaceous growth, causing plants to produce long unbranched vegetative ramets from protected belowground meristems, while unburned plants were heavily branched and bore shorter shoots and numerous inflorescences. Unburned plants experienced higher gall frequencies, more galls on their longest shoots, but similar deer browsing compared to burned plants. Ramets with herbivore damage had more branches and inflorescences than undamaged ramets, especially where both herbivores were present. Ceanothus herbaceous' flexible life history responses suggest tolerance of multiple forms of damage.
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Vol. 141 • No. 1