Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2019, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (3): 245-257.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2018.0311

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Ecological stoichiometry of two common hemiparasite plants and their relationship with host trees in Ailao Mountain, Yunnan, China

TANG Dan-Dan1,2,WU Yi1,2,LIU Wen-Yao1,*(),HU Tao1,2,HUANG Jun-Biao1,2,ZHANG Ting-Ting1,2   

  1. 1 CAS Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2018-12-07 Revised:2019-03-01 Online:2019-03-20 Published:2019-04-23
  • Contact: LIU Wen-Yao
  • Supported by:
    Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China(31770496);Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China(41471050);Biodiversity Conservation Strategy Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences(ZSSD-016);The "135 Program" of Chinese Academy of Sciences(2017XTBG-T01)


Aims The objectives of this study were to characterize the carbon (C) : nitrogen (N) : phosphorus (P) stoichiometry of the “host branches-haustorias-parasitic branches-parasitic leaves” continuum and to better understand nutrient relationship between hemiparasite plants and their hosts.

Methods The study site is located in the Xujiaba area of Ailao Mountain, Yunnan Province. Two common hemiparasite plants Loranthus delavayi and Taxillus delavayi were selected, and the C, N and P concentrations of host branches, haustorias, parasitic branches and parasitic leaves were measured.

Important findings The results showed that, the tendency of C, N, P stoichiometry characteristics of host branches-haustorias-parasitic branches-parasitic leaves were species specific, and were not identical between the two hemiparasites. The host branches of the same parasitic plant have similar C, N, and P stoichiometry characteristics, and the host species have no significant effect on the stoichiometry of hemiparasites. There was a close coupling relationship between the C, N, P stoichiometry characteristics in the host branches, and the haustorias was weaker than the host branch, the parasitic branch was weaker than the haustorias, and there was no significant correlation between the N and P concentrations in the parasitic leaf. There was a significant negative correlation between the host branches and the parasitic leaves of C concentration. The C, N, P stoichiometry characteristics of the haustorias were more similar to the parasitic branches, and it had a very significant positive correlation with the host branches. As a key part of the host and parasitic plants, the haustorias had a significant correlation with the host branches, which reflected the importance of the host branch nutrients to the parasitic plants. The element stoichiometry and their relationship of the haustorias were more similar to those of the parasitic branches, which embodied that haustorias as a parasitic plant organ had physiological functions similar to those of the parasitic branches. These results provided important data for in-depth study of nutrient utilization strategies and ecological adaptability of hemiparasitic plants.

Key words: hemiparasite, ecological stoichiometry, branch, haustoria, leaf