Cogongrass is a highly invasive perennial grass that threatens agriculture, forestry, and native plant assemblages in many regions of the world. Cogongrass is a prolific seed producer, but the ecological importance of seeds as a vector of invasion has not been adequately addressed. Propagule pressure plays a key role in many successful invasions and the relative importance of propagule pressure across environmental gradients is an area of research that is quickly becoming important in understanding invasion success. The present study was conducted to test the effects of varying propagule density upon the ability of cogongrass seedlings to grow and establish across experimentally manipulated light and soil gradients. Seedlings growing in high-nutrient soil performed the best regardless of the amount of available light, but overall biomass was always greatest in high-light environments. Cogongrass showed a very strong trend in biomass allocation, with seedlings in reduced light environments partitioning more biomass to aboveground tissue. The data provided no evidence that initial propagule density affected the growth and establishment of cogongrass seedlings, but growth and biomass production were positively correlated with final seedling density.
Nomenclature: Cogongrass [Imperata cylindrica (L.) Beauv.] IMPCY