Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2017, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (4): 461-470.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2016.0231

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

C, N and P stoichiometry in different organs of Vitex rotundifolia in a Poyang Lake desertification hill

Hong-Yan ZHOU1, Qin WU1, Ming-Yue CHEN1, Wei KUANG1, Ling-Ling CHANG1, Qi-Wu HU1,2,*()   

  1. 1School of Geography and Environment, Jiangxi Normal University, Nanchang 330022, China
    2Key Laboratory of Poyang Lake Wetland and Watershed Research, Ministry of Education (Jiangxi Normal University), Nanchang 330022, China
  • Received:2016-07-05 Accepted:2017-02-14 Online:2017-05-19 Published:2017-04-10
  • Contact: Qi-Wu HU


Aims The objectives were to clarify the responses of C, N and P stoichiometry of Vitex rotundifolia to desertification, and determine the C, N and P stoichiometric relationships among the organs.
Methods In this study, different organs (e.g. flowers, leaves, twigs, creeping stems, fine roots) of V. rotundifolia were sampled along a desertification gradient in a typical Poyang Lak sandy hill. Subsequently, C, N and P contents of various organs were measured.
Important findings The results showed nutrient contents in different organs ranged from 386.28 to 449.47 mg·g-1 for carbon, 11.40 to 25.37 mg·g-1 for nitrogen and 0.89 to 1.54 mg·g-1 for phosphorus, respectively. C, N and P contents differed significantly among the five organs. The maximum N and P content were found in flowers, whereas the minimums were observed in twigs and creping stems. Moreover, desertification intensity only significantly affected C, N and C:P. C:N and N:P ratios maintained relatively stable. Except N:P, the other nutrient elements and associated stoichiometry significantly differed among the organs. Hence, organs, rather than desertification intensity mainly controlled the C, N and P content and their stoichiometry variability. Although there was a positive correlation between mass-based N content (Nmass) and P content (Pmass) across the three desertification zones, the Nmass-Pmass relationship in V. rotundifolia did not shift. Irrespective desertification intensity and organs, N:P stoichiometry of V. rotundifolia was well constrained. In addition, significant correlations of C, N and P contents among organs were mainly found in the above-ground parts, especially between twigs and creeping stems.

Key words: Poyang Lake, desertification hill, plant organ, nutrient, stoichiometry

Table 1

Characteristics of soil and vegetation in different desertification zones (mean ± SD)"

Sampling site
SOC ( mg·g-1 )
TN ( mg·g-1 )
TP ( mg·g-1 )
Vegetation type
Species composition
HD zone
3.57 ± 1.14a 0.14 ± 0.05a 0.10 ± 0.07a 灌木+草本
Shrub and herb
0.08 ± 0.02a 单叶蔓荆 Vitex rotundifolia
狗牙根 Cynodon dactylon
马唐 Digitaria sanguinalis
MD zone
5.74 ± 0.86b 0.32 ± 0.06b 0.11 ± 0.01a 灌木+小乔木
Shrub and small trees
0.34 ± 0.11b 单叶蔓荆 Vitex rotundifolia
算盘子 Glochidion puberum
糯米条 Abelia chinensis
湿地松 Pinus elliottii
LD zone
8.66 ± 2.23c 0.61 ± 0.26c 0.22 ± 0.04b 灌木+小乔木
Shrub and small trees
0.57 ± 0.13c 单叶蔓荆 Vitex rotundifolia
算盘子 Glochidion puberum
牡荆 Vitex negundo
山矾 Symplocos sumuntia
檵木 Loropetalum chinense
短柄枹 Quercus glandulifera
刺槐 Robinia pseudoacacia
湿地松 Pinus elliottii

Fig. 1

Carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) contents and their stoichiometry in various organs of Vitex rotundifolia (mean ± SD). F, flower; L, leaf; T, twig; CS, creeping stem; FR, fine root. Different lowercase letters indicate significant differences between organs at p < 0.05 levels."

Table 2

Correlations of nutrient elements and their stoichiometry among various organs of Vitex rotundifolia"

花 Flower 叶 Leaf 枝条 Twig 匍匐茎 Creeping stem
C 叶 Leaf 0.480**
枝条 Twig -0.475** -0.652**
匍匐茎 Creeping stem 0.115 0.177 -0.391*
N 枝条 Twig 0.672** 0.058
匍匐茎 Creeping stem -0.543** 0.022 -0.681**
P 匍匐茎 Creeping stem -0.049 0.174 0.518**
细根 Fine root -0.001 -0.074 -0.438* -0.214
C:N 枝条 Twig 0.472** 0.131
匍匐茎 Creeping stem -0.437* -0.221 -0.411*
C:P 匍匐茎 Creeping stem -0.051 0.373* 0.369*
细根 Fine root -0.035 -0.203 -0.400* -0.248

Fig. 2

Changes of carbon(C), nitrogen(N) and phosphorus(P) contents in various organs of Vitex rotundifolia along desertification gradient (mean ± SD). HD, MD and LD see Table 1."

Fig. 3

Relationship between mass-based nitrogen content (Nmass) and mass-based phosphorus content (Pmass) of Vitex rotundifolia at different desertification zones. HD, MD and LD see Table 1."

Table 3

A test of differences in slopes and intercepts of linear regressions of mass-based nitrogen content (Nmass) against mass-based phosphorus content (Pmass) of Vitex rotundifolia among different desertification zones using analysis of covariance"

(n = 160)
HD zone
MD zone
LD zone
F p
斜率 Slope 5.2 8.3 10.1 1.13 0.33
9.3 7.5 5.8 2.66 0.073

Table 4

General linear model (GLM) analysis of effects of desertification intensity and organs on C, N and P contents of Vitex rotundifolia and their stoichiometry"

自变量 Variable 因变量 Dependent variable 平方和 Sum of squares 自由度 d.f. 均方 Mean square 统计量 f 显著性 p
C 113.260 2 56.630 4.998 0.008*
N 3 454.735 2 1 727.368 3.717 0.027*
P 0.563 2 0.281 2.941 0.056
C:N 100.579 2 50.289 0.326 0.723
C:P 187 733.990 2 93 866.995 4.373 0.014*
N:P 240.789 2 120.394 2.773 0.066
C 3 792.949 4 948.237 83.690 0.000**
N 78 810.635 4 19 702.659 42.392 0.000**
P 7.656 4 1.914 20.009 0.000**
C:N 15 152.136 4 3 788.034 24.534 0.000**
C:P 1 036 736.242 4 259 184.060 12.076 0.000**
N:P 333.015 4 83.254 1.918 0.111
Desertification intensity × Organs
C 699.213 8 87.402 7.714 0.000**
N 9 851.142 8 1 231.393 2.649 0.010*
P 2.181 8 0.273 2.850 0.006*
C:N 5 414.247 8 676.781 4.393 0.000**
C:P 653 464.339 8 81 683.042 3.806 0.000**
N:P 1 302.409 8 162.801 3.750 0.001*

Table 5

The correlations of N, P contents between soil and various organs of Vitex rotundifolia"

土层 Soil layer 养分元素 Nutrient element 花 Flower 叶 Leaf 枝条 Twig 匍匐茎 Creeping stem 细根 Fine root
0-10 cm N 0.336 0.405 0.211 -0.628* 0.303
P -0.337 0.370 0.184 0.091 0.493
10-30 cm N 0.212 0.390 0.180 -0.587 0.253
P -0.297 0.351 0.102 0.123 -0.409
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