In plant terminology, a 'competitive' is a plant which specializes in competing with other plants in an ideal environment. This strategy is a median between ruderal and stress tolerant and is sometimes left out in ecology discussions. Unlike ruderals, competitives generally thrive in stable environments where they are able to outcompete other plants until a disturbance occurs. However, they are not as hardy to harsh conditions as stress-tolerants.

Competitives generally exist in large areas of stable, similar conditions. Most thick forests, such as the hardwood forests of the Eastern US, and many pine forests in the Western US, contain mainly competitives. They are found in so-called 'climax communities' and usually exclude and outcompete other plants as long as conditions remain the same. If a disturbance such as windfall, fire, or drought loosens their hold on the ecosystem, they will often be overwhelmed by opportunistic ruderals, or killed off and survived by stress-tolerants.

Com*pet"i*tive (?), a.

Of or pertaining to competition; producing competition; competitory; as, a competitive examination.


© Webster 1913.

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