Osmanthus fragrans Lour. has been cultivated for more than 2500 years because of the fragrance and color of the flowers. The flowers and roots have been used in tea, liquors, foods, and traditional Chinese medicine. The species contains more than 180 compounds including terpenoids, phenylpropanoids, polyphenols, flavonoids, and sterols. However, there has been limited information available on the allelopathic properties and allelopathic substances of O. fragrans. We investigated the allelopathy and allelopathic substances of O. fragrans and Osmanthus heterophyllus (G.Don) P.S. Green, as well as Osmanthus × fortunei Carrière, which is the hybrid species between O. fragrans and O. heterophyllus. The leaf extracts of O. fragrans, O. heterophyllus, and O. × fortunei suppressed the growth of cress (Lepidium sativum L.), alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), Lolium multiflorum Lam., and Vulpia myuros (L.) C.C.Gmel with the extract concentration dependently. The extract of the hybrid species O. × fortune was the most active among the extracts. The main allelopathic substances of O. × fortunei and O. fragrans were isolated and identified as (+)-pinoresinol and 10-acetoxyligustroside, respectively. (+)-Pinoresinol was also found in the fallen leaves of O. × fortunei. Both compounds showed an allelopathic activity on the growth of cress and L. multiflorum. On the other hand, several allelopathic substances including (+)-pinoresinol may be involved in the allelopathy of O. heterophyllus. O. fragrans, O. heterophyllus, and O. × fortunei are evergreen trees. but their senescent leaves fall and cover the soil under the trees. It is possible that those allelopathic substances are liberated through the decomposition process of the leaves into their rhizosphere soil, and that they accumulate in the soil and provide a competitive advantage to the species through the inhibition of the growth of the neighboring competing plants. Therefore, the leaves of these Osmanthus species are allelopathic and potentially useful for weed management options in some agriculture settings to reduce commercial herbicide dependency for the developing sustainable agriculture systems.
- fallen leaf
- growth inhibition
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Plant Science