Invasive alien plants often occur in monospecific stands with high density in the invaded range. Production of bioactive secondary metabolites in such stands could have allelopathic effects on germination of native species. We tested this component of the novel weapon hypothesis for Heracleum mantegazzianum, a prominent invader in Europe, using seeds of 11 native herbs exposed to soil or soil extracts from invaded stands, moist seeds or seed extracts of H. mantegazzianum. There was no effect of the various treatments on germination of most species, while germination was reduced in Urtica dioica on invaded soil, in Poa trivialis with H. mantegazzianum seed extract, and negative effects of the essential oil bergapten were found in three species. In P. trivialis the results of the seed extract were not supported by the experiment with added seeds of the invasive plant. Thus, there is limited evidence for allelopathic effects of the invasive H. mantegazzianum on germination of co-occurring native herbs.
Seed Science Research, 2013, Vol 23, Issue 02, p. 157-162