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One Mean Weed!1 Charles Jacoby, Nanette Holland, and Debbi Berger2 The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with nondiscrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension service. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Exte nsion Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A. & M. University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Larry Arrington, Dean. Copyright Information This document is copyrighted by the University of Florid a, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) for the people of the State of Florida. UF/IFAS retains all rights under all conventions, but permits free reproduction by all agents and offices of the Cooperative Extension Servi ce and the people of the State of Florida. Permission is granted to others to use these materials in part or in full for educational purposes, provided that full credit is given to the UF/IFAS, citing the publication, its source, and date of publication. 1 This document is CIR1509, an Activity in an Invasive Specie s Curriculum (CIR1496), and it is reprinted by permission of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program and The Florida Aquarium. Original EDIS publication date : January, 2007. It was supported by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, the Florida Aquarium, the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Scie nces of the University of Florida, and the National Sea Grant Colle ge Program of the Nationa l Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce, under NOAA Grant No. NA 16RG-2195. Visit the EDIS Web Site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu 2 Charles Jacoby, Assistant Professor, Depa rtment of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611; Nanette Holland, Public Outreach Coordinator, Tampa Bay Estuary Program, 100 8th Avenue S.E., MS I-1 / NEP, St. Petersburg, FL 33701; Debbi Berger, Vice President of Education, The Florida Aquarium, Inc., 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa, Florida, 33602.
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` O O n n e e M M e e a a n n W W e e e e d d ! Objectives: Students will: !" Become familiar with the re productive ability of an aggressive plant. !"Demonstrate understanding of the concept that roots help a plant to compete better. Materials: !" Specimen of Autumn Olive, Elaeagnus umbellata, including fruits (this can be obtained from the Internet just look up order autumn olive). by collecting or ordering !" Cups in which to collect fruit. !" Scale to wei gh fruit. !" Surface on which to crush fruit. !" Hand lens. photographs from The Florida Aquarium Background: How does a fruit-bearing plant spread? A disper ser is an organism that spreads or distributes fruits a n d/or seeds from a stationary parent plant by eating the fruit and excreting the seeds in another location. 1 Sneak Peek Students will be introduced to pl ant dispersa l Students wil l explore the Autu mn Ol ive bu sh and specifi c a l ly the fruits and roots of the pl ant. They will al so be introduced to t h e process of nitro g en fixation and how the root system of pl ants hel p this process. Th is activity incor p orat es observation skills, math ski l l s a n d criti c al think i ng Aligned wi th the followin g Sun shin e State Stan dards an d FCAT Benchmarks for grad es 6-8: SC.D.2 .3 .2 AA SC.G.2 .3 .4 AA SC.F.1 .3 .7 CS SC.H.2 .2 .1 CS SC.G.2 .3 .3 CS AA = annually assessed CS = con t e n t sam p led Remember not to let seeds or plants get into the environment
Autumn Olive ( Elaeagnus umbellate) shrubs have berries that many animals eat. This is a perennial shrub (grows year-round) that can grow to twenty feet. The more berries that are eaten, the more widely the shrub will be dispersed. How do the roots of a plant help it grow? Nitrogen is a nutrient required in large am ounts as an essential component of proteins, nucleic acids and other ce llular constituents. Some plants have bacteria in nodules on their roots that fix nitrogen. By this nitrogen fixation process, plants convert nitrogen gas into ammonia. The ammonia can be used for plant growth. Autumn O lives have roots that allow a lot of nitrogen to be collected. Procedure: 1. Each student should be given 20 fruits in a cup. Th e students should weigh each cup of fruit and determine the weight of an individual berry by dividing the total weight by 20. 2. Have students determine how ma ny fruits must be collected to weigh 8 pounds, which is how much fruit one plant can produce. 3. Once the fruits have been weighe d, the students should squash the berries and determine how many seeds are in each fruit. Have the students think about how many seeds there would be in 8 pounds of fruit and the consequences of th at many seeds being dispersed in the landscape. 2 4. Divide the students into groups of three and have them observe Autumn Olive roots with a hand lens. The instructor should prepare the students by describing the form of root nodules and then allow the groups to locate the nodules on their samples. While studying the root samples, the students sh ould also observe whether Autumn Olive has one long root or many short fibrous roots, because nutrient absorption will be affected by the form of roots.
1. What type of animals do you th ink like to eat Autumn Olive berries? (Think about how big the berries are and what animals could reach them.) 2. Did your Autumn Olive have one long root, or many short fibrous roots? Knowing that Autumn Olive f ix nitrogen very well, which root structure do you think helps this process? 3. Why do you think Autumn Oliv e bushes spread easily in the environment? 3
4 Glossary: Disperser An organism that spreads or distributes fruits and/or seeds from a stationary parent plant. Nitrogen A nutrient required in large amounts as an essential component of proteins, nucleic acids and other cellular constituents. Nitrogen fixation Organisms cannot use nitrogen gas (N2), but nitrogen gas can be fixed or converted into ammonia by bacteria. Perennial A plant that is last ing or active through the year or many years.