Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2014, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (12): 1315-1324.DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1258.2014.00126

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Phenotypic variations in populations of Phoebe chekiangensis

LI Yin-Gang, LIU Xin-Hong*(), MA Jun-Wei, SHI Cong-Guang, ZHU Guang-Quan   

  1. Zhejiang Academy of Forestry, Hangzhou 310023, China
  • Received:2014-06-16 Accepted:2014-11-06 Online:2014-06-16 Published:2015-04-16
  • Contact: LIU Xin-Hong


Aims Phoebe chekiangensis is a rare and protected species in China. Our objectives were to determine the phenotypic variations of leaves and seeds in P. chekiangensis populations and the relationship between phenotypic variation and distribution of populations.

Methods Field investigations and examinations of the natural distribution of P. chekiangensis led to our selection of five leaf characteristics and five seed characteristics as phenotypic traits from nine populations. We studied morphological variations among and within populations based on analysis of the 10 phenotypic traits. Nested analysis of variance, coefficient of variation, multi-comparison and correlation analysis were used to analyze the resulting data.

Important finding Analysis of nested variance on leaf and seed traits revealed significant differences among and within populations. The variation was greater within populations (21.74%) than among populations (18.45%). Mean phenotypic differentiation coefficient was 41.43% among populations, indicating that the variance within population is the main source of the phenotypic variation of the species. The variation in coefficient of variance (CV) among 10 traits ranged 6.50%-19.38%, with an average of 12.78%. The CV of leaf traits (16.99%) among populations was higher than that of seed traits (8.58%), implying higher stability of seed traits than the leaf traits. There were significant or highly significant correlations of leaf width and leaf area with other leaf traits. The thousand seeds weight was significantly correlated with seed width and seed volume, but no significant correlations were found between seed and leaf traits. Seed width, seed volume and thousand seeds weight decreased with increasing altitude. The seed volume also appeared to be under control of latitude, showing a tendency of increase with latitude.

Key words: correlation analysis, leaf traits, phenotypic differentiation, phenotypic variation, Phoebe chekiangensis, seed characteristics