Host infestation patterns of the massive liana Hydrangea serratifolia (Hydrangeaceae) in a Chilean temperate rainforest

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Austral Ecology


As competition from lianas reduces fitness of host trees, lianas could influence community composition and structure if potential host species differ in susceptibility to infestation. We quantified infestation frequencies of Chilean temperate rainforest tree species by the massive liana Hydrangea serratifolia (H. et A.) F. Phil (Hydrangeaceae), which climbs using adhesive adventitious roots, and examined relationships with host light requirements and stem diameter. We recorded presence or absence of H. serratifolia in a random sample of 515 trees ‚â•10 cm diameter. Fifty-four per cent of trees were infested by at least one individual of H. serratifolia. Although there was significant interspecific variation in infestation frequency, this variation was not systematically related to light requirements of host tree species. Probability of infestation increased with diameter for most host tree species, and old trees were found to be infested by a wide range of liana size classes, including some stems <2 cm diameter. This evidence supports the proposal that lianas which attach by adhesive roots can colonize host stems of any size.

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