Journal of Plant Research

, 122:611 | Cite as

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

  • Hua Su
  • Yonggeng Li
  • Zhenjiang Lan
  • Hong Xu
  • Wei Liu
  • Bingxue Wang
  • Dilip Kumar Biswas
  • Gaoming Jiang
Regular Paper


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.


Anatomy Diurnal gas exchange Hunshandake Sandland Morphology Phenotypic plasticity Salix gordejevii 



This research was supported financially by the “973” Project of China (No: 2007CB106804), the Key Innovative Project of Chinese Academy of Sciences (No: KZCX2-XB2-01), National Key Technologies R&D Programs of China (No: 2008BAD0B05 and 2006BAC01A12) and “Zealquest Scientific Foundation”. We sincerely thank Nasen Wuritu, Huhe Tuge, Benying Su and Benfu Li for their invaluable help in the field. We thank Guanglei Wu, Yong Li and Caihong Li from Shandong Agricultural University for their help with leaf proline and chlorophyll measurements.


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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hua Su
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yonggeng Li
    • 1
  • Zhenjiang Lan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hong Xu
    • 1
  • Wei Liu
    • 3
  • Bingxue Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dilip Kumar Biswas
    • 1
  • Gaoming Jiang
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Graduate University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Zeal Quest Scientific Technology Co. LtdShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China

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