The current and future projected distribution of Solanum hoplopetalum (Solanaceae): an indigenous weed of the south-western Australian grain belt
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The factors determining the distribution of the Western Australian endemic Solanum hoplopetalum Bitter & Summerh. (Solanaceae) were assessed because it was identified as a potential weed risk to Australian cropping regions, including under climate change scenarios. Incubation at constant temperatures determined daily plant growth rates and plants required 1380 degree-days above a threshold of 12.4°C to complete growth to flowering. From this and published information on the plant’s biology, we developed a mechanistic niche model using CLIMEX. The model projection for current climates produced a highly significant match to known distribution records. Spatially, the lower south-west and areas eastwards to South Australia, western New South Wales and southern parts of the Northern Territory were climatically suitable for growth of S. hoplopetalum. However, by 2070 the area under risk decreases, with the projected distribution under climate change contracting southwards. We hypothesise that climatic extremes and edaphic factors, possibly high soil pH, may be major factors determining the current distribution of S. hoplopetalum. Containment on the southern edge of the current distribution, interstate quarantine and local eradication in new areas of invasion are recommended as management options to combat the potential for this native weed to spread.
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