Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2019, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (8): 697-708.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2019.0131

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Responses of foliar anatomical traits to soil conditions in 11 tree species on coastal saline-alkali sites of Shandong, China

CHEN Xu1,LIU Hong-Kai1,ZHAO Chun-Zhou2,WANG Qiang3,WANG Yan-Ping1,*()   

  1. 1Key Laboratory of State Forestry Administration for Silviculture of the Lower Yellow River, Forestry College, Shandong Agricultural University, Tai’an, Shandong 271018, China;
    2Shouguang National Machinery Forest Farm, Shouguang, Shandong 262716, China
    3Shandong Forestry Foreign Investment and Project Management Office, Jinan 250014, China
  • Received:2019-05-30 Revised:2019-08-04 Online:2019-08-20 Published:2020-01-03
  • Contact: WANG Yan-Ping ORCID:0000-0003-1892-1409


Aims As an important link between plants and atmospheric environment, foliar organs have strong responses to stress. Understanding the adaptive mechanisms of plants to environments based on leaf traits is of great significance for establishment of plant communities in saline-alkali land.
Methods Eleven tree species used for afforestation were studied under three soil conditions in the coastal saline-‌alkali land of Shandong Province. The foliar anatomical traits were measured, and the responses of these traits to saline-alkali soil environment were determined to reveal the relationships between foliar functional traits and soil conditions.
Important findings (1) The leaves of the 11 tree species studied were thicker on the saline-alkali sites than on other sites, with 3-5 layers of well-developed palisade tissue closely arranged on the paraxial surface of the leaf mesophyll. The thickness ratio of palisade tissue to spongy tissue (PT/ST) was generally high but with large variations among the tree species. (2) The foliar anatomical traits differed among the three sites in different tree species. (3) Both correlation analysis and redundancy analysis (RDA) showed that the foliar anatomical traits were closely related to soil conditions; PT/ST was highly significantly correlated with soil indexes, positively with soil pH and soil conductivity at 25 ℃, and negatively with soil nitrate nitrogen content. Leaf characteristics and vein characteristics could explain 84% of the variations in leaf functional characteristics with environments. Overall, the foliar anatomical traits were closely related to soil conditions in saline-alkali land. The analysis of foliar anatomical traits could be used to study the adaptation of tree species to saline-alkali land, and as basis for tree species selection for vegetation restoration and community establishment.

Key words: coastal saline-alkali land, foliar, vein, anatomical traits, palisade tissue, spongy tissue, soil physiochemical properties