Effects of Lead and Copper Exposure on Growth of an Invasive Weed, Lythrum Salicaria L. (Purple Loosestrife)

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The concentrations of heavy metals such as copper and lead in the environment are currently increasing, due mainly to human activities. Any of these metals, at sufficiently high concentrations, can cause severe damage to physiological and biochemical activities of plants. This damage to plants can be intensified when two or more metals present in the soil act synergistically. This study assessed the effects of two metals, copper and lead, on the growth of an invasive plant species, Lythrum salicaria. Treatments consisted of control; high and low concentrations of lead; high and low concentrations of copper; and high and low concentrations of both copper and lead. Although the treatment of plants with metals significantly reduced growth and survival of the plants, no synergistic relationship between the metals was found because of the extreme toxicity of the concentrations of metals used in this investigation.


Author Institution: Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences, Cleveland State University



The Ohio Journal of Science. v103, n5 (December, 2003), 129-133