Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2023, Vol. 47 ›› Issue (8): 1116-1130.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2023.0041

Special Issue: 植物功能性状

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Geographical variation of needles phenotypic and anatomic traits between populations of Pinus yunnanensis var. tenuifolia and its environmental interpretation

FENG Shan-Shan, HUANG Chun-Hui, TANG Meng-Yun, JIANG Wei-Xin, BAI Tian-Dao*()   

  1. Guangxi Key Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Conservation, Guangxi Colleges and Universities Key Laboratory for Cultivation and Utilization of Subtropical Forest Plantation, College of Forestry, Guangxi University, Nanning 530004, China
  • Received:2023-02-14 Accepted:2023-04-26 Online:2023-08-20 Published:2023-05-04
  • Contact: *BAI Tian-Dao(
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(32160381);Natural Science Foundation of Guangxi(2018GXNSFBA281110)


Aims Leaf is an important organ for forest trees to acquire and utilize survival resources, and its morphological structure reflects the habitat adaptability of trees to a certain extent. Exploring the role of geography and climate of the Nanpan-Hongshui River basin in shaping the needles morphology and microstructure of an important tree species in the region, Pinus yunnanensis var. tenuifolia, has important reference value for understanding the ecological adaptability and resource conservation of this tree species.

Methods Eighteen morphological and microscopic characters of nine wild populations which distributed in Guizhou and Guangxi were measured, and seven geographical and climatic factors of the nine population locations were recorded. The population divergence and environmental associations were analyzed by nested ANOVA, correlation analysis, multivariate statistical analysis (principal component analysis, redundancy analysis, and hierarchical clustering analysis).

Important findings The results showed that, except for the ratio of needle cross-sectional area to central cylinder area (V1), all indicators had different degrees of differentiation among populations (phenotypic differentiation coefficient (VST) = 22.32%-51.42%). It implied that the habitat heterogeneity among populations had a significant impact on most indicators. Pearson correlation analysis and multivariate statistical analysis showed that the indicators which related to needle resin canals (resin canals number, resin canals perimeter, resin canals area, etc.) increased with the increase of latitude, altitude, and mean annual precipitation, but decreased with the increase of mean annual temperature; the stomatal indicators (stomatal density, ratio of stomatal density to V1) increased with increasing latitude and longitude, and decreased with increasing relative humidity; the indicators which related to the needle cross-sectional size (needle width, needle thickness, needle cross-sectional area, central cylinder area, etc.) are mainly affected by the distance from the sampling site to the Nanpan-Hongshui River. The closer the distance, the smaller the indicator value is. To sum up, P. yunnanensis var. tenuifolia exhibits a trend of miniaturization of resin canal, which was driven by dry-hot habitat selection that is different from that of the original species Pinus yunnanensis. Its higher stomatal density (and sunken stomata) is conducive to balancing respiration and transpiration dehydration in arid environments. The relatively slender needles may be mainly shaped by the stress effects of foehn and strong canyon winds which caused by the special valley terrain in the region, as well as the growth limiting effects of seasonal warm and dry climate on needles.

Key words: ecological adaptivity, dry-hot habitat, geographical factor, climatic factor, geographical variation, resource conservation