Interaction of the parasitic angiosperm cassytha filiformis L. (Lauraceae) with the exotic schinus terebinthifolius RADDI (Anacardiaceae) in southern Florida

Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Steven F. Oberbauer

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

David W. Lee

Third Advisor's Name

Jack B. Fisher

Fourth Advisor's Name

Daniel F. Austin

Date of Defense



Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius) is an exotic shrub or small tree that has become well established as an invasive and highly competitive species through much of southern Florida. Love vine (Cassytha filiformis), a native parasitic plant, was noted parasitizing Brazilian pepper, apparently affecting its health. The objective of this study was to investigate the nature of this parasitic interaction in southern Florida. Brazilian pepper populations were studied to determine whether parasitism by love vine may affect growth and reproduction. Anatomical studies of love vine parasitizing Brazilian pepper determined physical aspects of the parasitic interaction at the cell and tissue level. Physiological aspects of this interaction were investigated to help describe love vine resource acquisition as a parasite on host Brazilian pepper plants, and as an autotrophic plant. An investigation of ecological aspects of this parasitic interaction was done to determine whether physical or biological aspects of habitats may contribute to love vine parasitism on Brazilian pepper. These studies indicated that: 1) parasitism by love vine significantly decreased growth and reproduction of Brazilian pepper plants; 2) anatomical and physiological investigations indicated that love vine was primarily a xylem parasite on Brazilian pepper, but that some assimilated carbon nutrients may also be acquired from the host; 3) love vine is autotrophic (i. e., hemiparasitic), but is totally dependent on its host for necessary resources; 4) the occurrence of love vine parasitism on Brazilian pepper is mediated by physical characters of the biological community.



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