Skip to main content
Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

The ecosystem and evolutionary contexts of allelopathy

Inderjit, ; Wardle, David; Karban, Richard; Callaway, Ragan M.


Plants can release chemicals into the environment that suppress the growth and establishment of other plants in their vicinity: a process known as 'allelopathy'. However, chemicals with allelopathic functions have other ecological roles, such as plant defense, nutrient chelation, and regulation of soil biota in ways that affect decomposition and soil fertility. These ecosystem-scale roles of allelopathic chemicals can augment, attenuate or modify their community-scale functions. In this review we explore allelopathy in the context of ecosystem properties, and through its role in exotic invasions consider how evolution might affect the intensity and importance of allelopathic interactions.

Published in

Trends in ecology & evolution
2011, volume: 26, number: 12, pages: 655-662

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Ecology and Management
Karban, Richard
Callaway, Ragan M.

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)