Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2018, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (12): 1168-1178.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2018.0196

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Leaf phenotypic variation in natural populations of Cerasus dielsiana

ZHU Hong,ZHU Shu-Xia,LI Yong-Fu,YI Xian-Gui,DUAN Yi-Fan,WANG Xian-Rong()   

  1. Co-Innovation Center for Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, College of Biology and the Environment, Key Laboratory of State Forestry and Grassland Administration on Subtropical Forest Biodiversity Conservation, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, China
  • Received:2018-08-10 Revised:2018-11-02 Online:2018-12-20 Published:2019-04-04
  • Contact: WANG Xian-Rong ORCID: 0000-0003-4048-2748


Aims Cerasus dielsianais a wild cherry species endemic to the subtropical forest of China, and was regarded as a promising ornamental resource. Our objectives were to determine the leaf phenotypic variation, adaptation and patterns in eight natural C. dielsiana populations.

Methods We analyzed eleven leaf phenotypic traits from five provinces of China in eight natural populations of C. dielsianaby using multiple comparisons, nested analysis of variance, correlation analysis, principal component analysis (PCA), principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) and unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic mean (UPGMA) cluster analysis.

Important findings Results showed that 1) Rich leaf phenotypic variation existed among and within populations, and the average coefficient of variation (CV) was 22.44%, the maximum and the minimum were leaf area (CV = 50.83%) and primary lateral veins (CV = 7.96%), respectively. The mean differentiation coefficient (Vst) for all traits was 30.78%, and the variation within populations (51.55%) was higher than that among populations (22.55%). 2) The principal component analysis showed that the cumulative contribution rate of the first three main components of variation from leaf phenotypic traits of C. dielsiana made a major contribution reached to 92.400%, and can be comprehensively summarized and sorted as “size traits” (73.242%) and “shape traits” (19.158%). 3) Leaf width (r = -0.641), leaf area (r = -0.658) and primary lateral veins (r = 0.659) showed significant negative or positive correlation with longitude, and the temperature seasonality and precipitation of wettest quarter were showed more influence on leaf phenotype variation. 4) The eight natural populations of C. dielsiana could be divided into four groups according to principal coordinate analysis (PCA) and UPGMA cluster analysis. To sum up, leaf phenotypic variation in C. dielsiana is abundant, with a certain of continuity in quantity, and “size trait” is the main source of inter-trait variation. The mean differentiation coefficient at a moderate level, the phenotypic variation within populations was the main source of leaf traits variation. The results of phenotypic differentiation among populations were found to be consistent with the geographical location, and presented a gradient variation pattern dominated by longitude geographically. Meanwhile, the “climate variability” and “leaf-expansion period” are the main climatic factors that drive leaf phenotypic variation. We speculate the phenomena results from a long evolutionary adaptation of C. dielsiana to the subtropical monsoon climate.

Key words: Cerasus dielsiana, natural population, geography and climatic factors, leaf phenotypic differentiation