Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2022, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (4): 405-415.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2021.0374

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Host tree selection by vascular epiphytes in tropical cloud forest of Hainan Island, China

WANG Yi-Chen1, DENG Zhi-Yan1, ZHANG Shou-Xin1, XIAO Chu-Chu1,*(), FENG Guang1, LONG Wen-Xing1,*(), LIU Ji-Shi2   

  1. 1College of Forestry, Wuzhishan National Long-Term Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Research Station, Key Laboratory of Genetics and Germplasm Innovation of Tropical Special Trees and Ornamental Plants, Hainan University, Haikou 570228, China
    2Hainan Academy of Forestry (Hainan Academy of Mangrove), Haikou 571100, China
  • Received:2021-10-15 Accepted:2022-02-18 Online:2022-04-20 Published:2022-02-18
  • Contact: XIAO Chu-Chu,LONG Wen-Xing
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(31870508);Hainan Provincial Natural Science Foundation(320QN199)


Aims Epiphytic vascular plants are characteristically important components of tropical forests. Studying the selectivity of epiphytic vascular plants for host trees is key to understanding the underlying mechanisms of biodiversity conservation and ecosystem functioning.

Methods All trees and shrubs with a diameter at breast height (DBH) >1 cm were recorded for the number, species identity, DBH, plant height and possession of substrate types in 21 fixed 20 m × 20 m plots, and the epiphytic vascular plants growing on them were measured for their number and types, in the Bawangling range of the Hainan Tropical Rainforest National Park. The relationships of epiphyte distribution with host species identity, DBH, plant height, and substrate types (bare bark, bryophytes, litter and soil) were analyzed with the methods of mixed linear model, one-way analysis of variance and selectivity index.

Important findings In all the sample plots with a total area of 8 400 m2, a total number of 2 650 epiphytic vascular plants were recorded, belonging to 51 species. Epiphytic orchids and epiphytic ferns were found to be the dominant taxa, occurring on 10.6% of individual trees. Pyrrosia eberhardtii, Coelogyne fimbriata, Davallia repens, and Psychotria serpens showed some selectivity for host trees, with significant preferences for host trees from one to four species. The epiphytic vascular plants also showed a significant habitat preference for light substrate types (bryophytes), with more than 70% of the epiphytes occurring on mossy substrate.

Key words: epiphytic vasculars, host-tree selection, tropical cloud forest, bryophyte, host-tree characteristics