Human assisted plant invasions from Europe to North America have been more common than the reverse. We tested endophyte-mediated performance of tall fescue in parallel three year experiments in Europe and the USA using endophyte infected and uninfected wild and cultivated plants. Experimental plants were subjected to nutrient and water treatments. Whereas endophyte infection increased tall fescue performance in general, the effects of endophytes on plant growth and reproduction varied among plant origins under different environmental conditions. Naturally endophyte-free Finnish cultivar ‘Retu’ performed equally well as ‘Kentucky-31’ in both geographic locations. All Eurasian origin plants performed well in the US. In Finland, plants established well and both cultivars survived over the first winter. However, winter mortality of ‘Kentucky-31’ plants was higher, particularly in fertilized soils in the subsequent winters. Our results suggest that tall fescue ecotype ‘Kentucky-31’ that flourishes in North America is poorly adapted to Northern European conditions.

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Published in PLOS ONE, v. 11, no. 6, e0157382, p. 1-18.

© 2016 Saikkonen et al.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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