Plants with phytotoxic potential: Wollemi pine (Wollemia nobilis)

Alexa Seal, James Pratley, Terrence Haig, Min An, Hanwen Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Herbicide resistance in annual ryegrass (ARG, Lolium rigidum) threatens the quality and yield of winter wheat crops in Australia, prompting research to discover novel natural plant compounds with herbicidal properties. Due to its novel nature and potentially interesting chemistry, the Australian native, Wollemi pine (Wollemia nobilis), was tested for its ability to suppress ARG growth and its feasibility for use in weed control strategies. The leaf extract of Wollemi pine significantly inhibited the growth of ARG and wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum) in laboratory bioassays at concentrations above 1% extract. In soil trials, the 100% extract (100 g dried plant material/L) inhibited the dry weight of ARG by 25%. The addition of a wetting agent to the extract increased the suppression of ARG to 80% which was as phytotoxic as a 4-fold increase in the extract concentration ('400%' extract). Using bioassay-guided fractionation, the most phytotoxic fraction was identified and further analysed via GC/MS. Several compounds not previously identified in Wollemi pine leaf extracts have been identified, namely, 2-propylphenol, 3,4-dimethoxyphenol, 2-methoxybenzoic acid, vanillyl alcohol and isovanillic acid. These results suggest that Wollemi pine is an important potential source of compounds for the control of ARG and wild radish in winter crops.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-57
Number of pages6
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


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