Experiments were conducted on potted plants under field conditions in 2007 and 2008 at the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center's Northeast Research Station near St. Joseph, LA, to evaluate Texasweed response to shade. Shade levels of 30, 50, 70, and 90% were achieved using 1.8-m by 1.8-m by 1.8-m tents built using 2.54-cm-diam polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe and polypropylene fabric. Shade had no effect on Texasweed emergence but significantly reduced its growth. There were significant growth differences between plants transferred directly and gradually to a given shade level. At 100 d after emergence, plants gradually exposed to 30, 50, 70, and 90% shade had 13, 22, 37, and 58% less total dry matter per plants, respectively, than did those in 0% shade. Texasweed height in 70 and 90% shade was increased by 28 and 20%, respectively. Texasweed seemed to mitigate the adverse effect of shade by increasing specific leaf area (SLA) and percentage of leaf biomass. Increasing SLA and the percentage of leaf biomass appears to be a strategy for efficient allocation of biomass for light capture and carbohydrate synthesis, which can be used for height increase until the plant rises above the crop canopy. Although fruit production was significantly reduced, Texasweed was able to reproduce in 90% shade.
Nomenclature: Texasweed, Caperonia palustris (L.) St. Hil. CNPPA.