There are fewer weeds in the ground covered with pinecones of Japanese red pine trees (Pinus densiflora Sieb. et Zucc.) than in the ground without pinecones. When six species of seeds were cultured with Japanese red pinecones on agar, the growth of cress, lettuce and cat's eye were inhibited. Pinecones had a plant species-selective influence on their growth, Exudates of the pinecones showed high biological activity and also plant species-selective activity. Some species-selective allelopathic substances may be released from the pinecones. One of the inhibiting allelopathic substances was isolated from the exudates of the pinecones using a bioassay of cat's eye. The substance was identified as phenylacetic acid from an ESI-MS and 1H NMR spectra. It inhibited shoot and radicle elongation of cat's eye at concentrations of 30-100 p.p.m. The substance was also isolated from an agar medium after removal of the pinecones. These results suggest that pinecones may inhibit some weeds that grow around pine trees. There are many reports of the allelopathic effect of leaves, bark and roots of many plants, however, this is the first report that reveals the cone also affects the allelopathy phenomenon in Japanese red pine trees.
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