Root hemiparasites and plant diversity in experimental grassland communities

  • Published source details Joshi J., Mthhies D. & Schmid B. (2000) Root hemiparasites and plant diversity in experimental grassland communities. Journal of Ecology, 88, 634-644.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Sow seeds of parasitic species (e.g. yellow rattle)

Action Link
Grassland Conservation
  1. Sow seeds of parasitic species (e.g. yellow rattle)

    A replicated, controlled study in 1995–1997 in a former arable field in Lupsingen, Switzerland (Joshi et al. 2000) found that sowing seeds of the parasitic plant European yellow rattle Rhinanthus alectorolophus led to an increase in plant species diversity and a decrease in grass cover but did not alter the cover of forbs. After one year, quadrats sown with yellow rattle seeds had on average a greater diversity of plant species than quadrats not sown with yellow rattle seeds (data reported as evenness index). Average grass cover was lower in quadrats sown with yellow rattle (40%) compared to unsown quadrats (51%), whereas there was no significant difference in the cover of forbs (herbs: 34% vs 26%; legumes: 23% vs 26%). In May 1995, two replicate blocks each consisting of 32 plots (8 x 2 m) were sown with different assemblages of local grassland seeds. In October 1996, yellow rattle seeds were sown at a rate of 800 seeds/m2 within a 50 x 50 cm quadrat within each plot, while a second quadrat was left unsown. All plots were mown twice/year. In September 1997, vegetation was assessed in each of the two quadrats/plot.


    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

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