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:2018-06-01 Published:2018-09-20
  • 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

Fig. 1

Life form spectrum of the species in Thymus mongolicus steppe. I, semi-shrubs and dwarf semi-shrubs; II, perennial grasses and sedges; III, perennial forbs; IV, annuals and biennials."

Fig. 2

Floristic elements of the species in Thymus mongolicus steppe. CA-MA, Central Asia-Middle Asia elements; EA, East Asia elements; EPA, East Palaearctic elements; HA, Holarctic elements; MA, Middle Asia elements; PA, Palaearctic elements; PT, Pan-Temperate elements; WS, wide spread elements."

Table 1

The classification of Thumus mongolicus steppe"

群丛组 Association group 群丛 Association 样地编号 Plot number
Thymus mongolicus, semi-shrubs/ dwarf semi-shrubs
百里香-细裂叶莲蒿 Thymus mongolicus-Artemisia gmelinii P22
百里香-华北米蒿 Thymus mongolicus-Artemisia giardia P27
百里香-柔毛蒿 Thymus mongolicus-Artemisia pubescens P46, P47, P50, P52, P53
百里香-黑沙蒿 Thymus mongolicus-Artemisia ordosica P59, P63
百里香-兴安胡枝子 Thymus mongolicus-Lespedeza daurica P78, P82
Thymus mongolicus
百里香 Thymus mongolicus P1, P3, P5, P7, P10, P13, P14, P18, P30, P33, P34, P35, P36, P37, P38, P39, P43, P54, P55, P56, P64, P66, P67, P72, P77
Thymus mongolicus, bunchgrasses
百里香-克氏针茅 Thymus mongolicus-Stipa krylovii P2, P11, P83, P86, P87
百里香-戈壁针茅 Thymus mongolicus-Stipa gobica P6
百里香-长芒草 Thymus mongolicus-Stipa bungeana P28, P32, P40, P44, P45, P57, P61, P68
百里香-短花针茅 Thymus mongolicus-Stipa breviflora P17, P62
百里香-大针茅 Thymus mongolicus-Stipa grandis P41, P42, P49, P51, P69, P80
百里香-溚草 Thymus mongolicus-Koeleria cristata P26, P73
百里香-糙隐子草 Thymus mongolicus-Cleistogenes squarrosa P74, P75, P76
百里香-多叶隐子草 Thymus mongolicus-Cleistogenes polyphylla P79
Thymus mongolicus,
rhizomatous grasses
百里香-赖草 Thymus mongolicus-Leymus secalinus P20
百里香-羊草 Thymus mongolicus-Leymus chinensis P31, P58, P85
百里香-沙芦草 Thymus mongolicus-Agropyron mongolicum P9, P15
Thymus mongolicus, Carex
百里香-寸草薹 Thymus mongolicus-Carex duriuscula
P4, P25, P71, P89, P90, P91
Thymus mongolicus, forbs
百里香-多裂委陵菜 Thymus mongolicus-Potentilla multifida P48
百里香-砂珍棘豆 Thymus mongolicus-Oxytropis racemosa P16
百里香-草木樨状黄耆 Thymus mongolicus-Astragalus melilotoides P19
百里香-阿尔泰狗娃花 Thymus mongolicus-Heteropappus altaicus P21
百里香-细叶石头花 Thymus mongolicus-Gypsophila licentiana P23, P60
百里香-星毛委陵菜 Thymus mongolicus-Potentilla acaulis P8, P12, P29
百里香-灰毛地蔷薇 Thymus mongolicus-Chamaerhodos canescens P70
百里香-短翼岩黄耆 Thymus mongolicus-Hedysarum brachypterum P65
百里香-细叶韭 Thymus mongolicus-Allium tenuissimum P88
百里香-毛叶老牛筋 Thymus mongolicus-Arenaria capillaris P84
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