Regular Paper

Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 122, Issue 6, pp 611-622

Leaf-level plasticity of Salix gordejevii in fixed dunes compared with lowlands in Hunshandake Sandland, North China

  • Hua SuAffiliated withState Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of SciencesGraduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • , Yonggeng LiAffiliated withState Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences Email author 
  • , Zhenjiang LanAffiliated withState Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of SciencesGraduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • , Hong XuAffiliated withState Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • , Wei LiuAffiliated withZeal Quest Scientific Technology Co. Ltd
  • , Bingxue WangAffiliated withState Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of SciencesGraduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • , Dilip Kumar BiswasAffiliated withState Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • , Gaoming JiangAffiliated withState Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences Email author 

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Abstract

To cope with adverse environments, the majority of indigenous plants in arid regions possess adaptive plasticity after long-term evolution. Leaf-level morphology, anatomy, biochemical properties, diurnal water potential and gas exchange of Salix gordejevii distributed in fixed dunes and lowlands in Hunshandake Sandland, China, were compared. Compared to plants growing in lowlands, individuals of S. gordejevii in fixed dunes displayed much smaller leaf area (0.26 vs 0.70 cm2) and thicker leaves (leaf total thickness 148.59 vs 123.44 μm), together with heavier crust wax, denser hairs, and more compacted epidermal cells. Moreover, those growing in fixed dunes displayed stronger drought-resistance properties as evidenced by higher levels of proline (3.68 vs 0.20 mg g−1 DW) and soluble sugar (17.24 vs 14.49%). Furthermore, S. gordejevii in fixed dunes demonstrated lower water potential and lower light compensation point (28.8 vs 51.9 μmol m−2 s−1). Our findings suggest that morphological and/or anatomical plasticity in leaves has had great adaptive value for Salix in responding to deteriorating environments. The evidence provided here may facilitate the prediction of plant adaptation in community succession in sandy habitats.

Keywords

Anatomy Diurnal gas exchange Hunshandake Sandland Morphology Phenotypic plasticity Salix gordejevii