Knowledge on seed bank longevity is especially important in understanding population dynamics of invasive species and critical in determining the intensity and length of control efforts. In this study we determined the soil seed bank longevity of Paederia foetida across three main natural habitats that P. foetida occur in Florida (the interior of a mixed mesic forest, a forest edge, and an open grassland). A native of eastern Asia, P. foetida is invasive in natural and human created habitats in the southern United States and Hawaii. We placed multiple bags with known number of fruits (diaspores) in four stations on the soil surface in each habitat and retrieved the bags once a year for three years. Our data demonstrated that P. foetida forms a short term persistent seed bank and seeds may remain viable for more than one year in the soil seed bank. The decline of soil seed bank was significantly slower in the forest interior than in forest margin and grassland. In the forest interior, 38% of the seeds remained viable for one year, but only 2% remained viable in the forest edge and open grassland habitats. The percentages of viable seeds dropped to 4.7%, 0.4%, and 0% after two years in the soil seed banks in the forest interior, the forest edge, and the open habitat, respectively. After three years, only 0.3%, 0.1%, and 0% of seeds were found viable in these three habitats, respectively. Even though very small proportions of seeds survived three years, given that the annual fruit production of P. foetida is typically large and that it only takes a minimum of two viable seeds to start a new reproducing population for this self-incompatible species, we recommend post adult plant elimination monitoring for two years in open habitat, but up to four years in forest areas.
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Vol. 135 • No. 4