Allelopathy, or more simply the Darwin Effect, is a phenomenon in which plants, algae, bacteria, corals and fungi produce substances that influence the growth and development of other organisms. These substances are called allelochemicals and are secondary metabolites. They can have a positive (positive allelopathy) or a negative (negative allelopathy) effect on other organisms occurring in their vicinity.

Usually, however, allelopathy means: the production of substances by a plant that suppresses the growth of other plants. In negative allelopathy, plants introduce harmful (toxic) substances into the soil that inhibit or even kill neighboring plants in their growth, such as juglon.

Allelopathy is a survival mechanism that allows plants to compete with nearby plants. By inhibiting seed germination, root development or absorption of nutrients.

Enkele voorbeelden daarvan zijn bijvoorbeeld maïsglutenmeel, dat wordt gebruikt als een natuurlijke herbicide, om te voorkomen dat onkruidzaden ontkiemen. Veel grasses and soil bedekkende gewassen hebben allopathische eigenschappen die hun onkruid-onderdrukking verbeteren. Of wat dacht u van de manier waarop de schimmel penicilline bacteriën kan doden. Deze worden allemaal als gunstig voor de mens gezien.

The term allelopathy was first used in 1937 by the Austrian professor Hans Molisch in the book “Der Einfluss einer Pflanze auf die Andere – Allelopathie”. He used the term to describe the biochemical interactions that hindered the growth of neighboring plants by another plant.

Allelopathy appears to play an important role in forests, influencing the composition and growth pattern during regeneration.

For example, due to the production of juglon, the black walnut affects the growth of some plant species, while other plant species are not affected by juglon.

The effect can arise from different plant parts such as (fallen) leaves and roots and can target certain micro-organisms and plant species. The degree depends on the species and breed!

So if you want to make successful use of this common phenomenon, it is important to know how the individual plants work and with which they react.

The Saladebuffetten are composed in such a way that the components (plants) influence each other positively, resulting in a positive allelopathy or, more simply, “The Darwin effect”. This provides an additional yield of between 30% and 50% compared to the production of the components in monoculture.

In trials we see the same increased yield compared to traditional grass mixtures with perennial ryegrass as the dominant ingredient.

For expert advice on cooperation between plants, Pure Graze is the place to be!

Check out our herbal leys mixtures - Saladebuffetten®


Good luck!
Ado Bloemendal