Many substitutions in the herbicide target enzyme acetohydroxyacid synthase (AHAS) confer whole-plant resistance and may reduce plant fitness. This study was done to determine the impact of different watering and temperature regimes on the germination, growth, and seed production of eastern black nightshade populations resistant (R) to AHAS inhibitors as conferred by an Ala205Val substitution in their AHAS. Growth and reproductive ability of four R and four susceptible (S) populations were determined in growth-cabinet and greenhouse studies. The R populations had lower total berry and viable seed production per plant than S under optimal conditions because of slower berry maturation. Seed production of both S and R populations decreased under lower or higher than optimal watering regimes; however, this reduction was more pronounced for the S populations so that seed production was comparable across S and R. The R populations had significantly higher germination and vegetative growth under cooler alternating temperature regimes. Although there were no differences between R and S plants under stress conditions, under optimal growth conditions, the Ala205Val substitution comes at a significant cost in eastern black nightshade. Under optimal growth conditions and in the absence of herbicide selection, S populations should eventually dominate over R; however, the lack of fitness differences under stress conditions could enhance the persistence of the R individuals.
Nomenclature: Eastern black nightshade, Solanum ptychanthum Dun. SOLPT.