Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2018, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (9): 971-976.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2018.0047

• Data Paper • Previous Articles    

Distribution, community characteristics and classification of Thymus mongolicus steppe in China

GAO Chen-Guang1,2,QIAO Xian-Guo1,2,WANG Zi1,2,LU Shuai-Zhi1,2,HOU Dong-Jie1,2,LIU Chang-Cheng1,ZHAO Li-Qing3,GUO Ke1,2,*()   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3College of Life Science, Inner Mongolia University, Hohhot 010021, China
  • Received:2018-02-26 Revised:2018-05-29 Online:2018-09-20 Published:2018-06-01
  • Contact: Ke GUO
  • Supported by:
    Supported by the National Basic Research Program of China((2014CB-138800));the Key Program of National Fundamental Scientific Research((2015FY210200))


Thymus mongolicus steppe was a vegetation formation dominated by typical dwarf semi-shrub of Lamiaceae. Based on the previous literatures and primary plot data sampled during the growing seasons from 2015 to 2017, the distribution, ecological features, community characteristics and classification of Thymus mongolicus steppe were summarized. (1) Thymus mongolicus steppe is mainly distributed on the loess hills of Xar Moron River Watershed, Bashang region in the northwest of Hebei Province, the hills surrounding the Yinshan Mountains, the east part of Erdos Plateau and the northern Loess Plateau. This formation occurrs mainly on the stony slopes or loess hills with severe soil erosion. (2) In total, 167 seed plant species belonging to 101 genera of 34 families were recorded in the 91 sample sites, and families of Compositae, Leguminosae and Gramineae played crucial roles in the species composition. Eight of these families were semi-shrub and dwarf semi-shrub species, and 112 were perennial forb species. Typical xerophytes (58 species) and Meso-xerophytes (45 species) account for more than half part of all species. Eight geographic elements were involved. East Palaearctic (70 species) and East Asia (46 species) were the two major floristic elements. (3) Based on life form and dominance of species in the community, the formation was classified into 6 association groups (Thymus mongolicus, dwarf shrubs/dwarf semi-shurbs association group; Thymus mongolicus association group; Thymus mongolicus, bunchgrasses association group; Thymus mongolicus, rhizomatous grasses association group; Thymus mongolicus, Carex association group; Thymus mongolicus, forbs association group), consisting of 28 associations.

Key words: Thymus mongolicus, dwarf semi-shrubby steppe, life form, floristic geographic elements, community classification