Researchers at the Center for Functional Ecology at the University of Coimbra (UC) in partnership with the University of Vigo, have identified a new way of reproduction of the invasive plant . Here, the plant, commonly known as "azeda" or "yellow clover", can reproduce by seed (sexual reproduction), a capacity that until now was exclusive to the area where the species is native - South Africa.
João Loureiro, coordinator of the study co-funded by FCT, explains that this form of reproduction of the sorrel, which propagates preferentially in agricultural areas, "allows crossbreeding with other species, which increases its genetic diversity and enables the combination of characteristics that can make the plants more aggressive and harmful to the ecosystem.
The results obtained so far reveal that the propagation process "has become faster, easier and very aggressive", with an impact "on the reproduction of native plants in the invaded areas, which may compromise the reproduction of some species and affect the dynamics of natural populations. For example, a negative impact has been verified on kale.
According to the researcher, the study aims to provide relevant information to "better understand this species and thus develop measures to control and eradicate the plant.