or "r" selection. These are the weeds of the world.
Their whole life is spent trying to make as many seeds as possible
before their short life is spent. Ruderals are eaten by all as energy
is not used for defense but only to produce flowers and seed. Ruderals
need very high nutrition and regular water to stay alive. Most are
not community oriented. (Ruderals are non-mycorrhizal or will
become mycorrhizal only if food or water can be
drawn from the mycorrhizal grid. Mycorrhiza means fungus root. 90%
the plants in the world have a fungal partner that helps them draw
nutrition and moisture from the soil. Mycorrhizas protect plants from
diseases and insects and can tie vast areas together.) Ruderals flower
like mad (trying to produce seeds). Their many flowers and fruits
make them the
annual color plants and many vegetables that we plant in our gardens.
Ruderals have a limited ability to grow well in shade. Ruderals are the
first ones into disturbed areas where they use as much water and
nutrition as fast as possible. Ruderals like bare ground and cannot
reseed well on mulched areas. Their growth is not helped with mulch and
Ruderals will sometimes rot off at the stem if they are mulched.
Ruderals live in a bacterial-based soil that can often be wet, soggy
and highly fertile. (If only for as long as it takes to make seed.) Do
not mix ruderals with most California native plants.
R simply defined
Lots of flowers
Hard to kill or control (as it will seed in days if
the conditions are right)
Insects damage (
think of all the herbicides people use in their flower gardens)
amendments, hates mulch
their species, I.e., the plant community is not supported, ruderals try
to collapse community structure (a single weed in the pot with a
mycorrhizal species is normally fatal.)
Some Common Ruderals
Alyssum, Creeping Charlie ,Beets ,Dicentra,
Purslane, Dusty Miller, Radish, Bouncing Bet, Four-O'Clock ,Rape
,Broccoli, Garden Cress, Rhubarb,Cabbage, Globe-Amaranth, Sandwort,
Candytufts, Ice plant ,Starlings, Sorrel, Carnation, Kale, Spinach,
Cauliflower, Kohlrabi ,Stock Chard, Lawns(except Bermuda), Stone-cress,
Collards ,Mustard, Sweet William, Nasturtium, Turnips ,New Zealand
Spinach, Wallflower, Pinks, Wandering Jew, Poke-weed
It can be useful to think of ruderals as bad elements in the community. No structured sense of community, all they do is reproduce, consume resources and damage stuff. Nothing is put back into the community, no long term strategy other than reproducing first and as often as possible.
One article said that weedy grasses can seed at their level of maturity. If the seed is 10% mature it will have 10% germination.