Ecological Research

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 467–474 | Cite as

Seed germination and seedling growth in the arrow bamboo Fargesia qinlingensis

  • Wei WangEmail author
  • Scott B. Franklin
  • Margaret C. Cirtain
Original Article


Improving natural regeneration of bamboos after they die following mass flowering is critical for conservation of giant pandas. However, little is known about factors that affect seed germination and seedling growth of bamboos. We studied seed germination and seedling growth in Fargesia qinlingensis, which mass flowered in a giant panda habitat in the Qinling Mountains of China in early 2000, in laboratory and greenhouse conditions. Seed germination rate was tested under light and dark conditions 5 and 12 months after seed collection. Germination rate displayed no significant difference under light or dark conditions 5 months after seed collection, but was significantly greater in the dark than under light 12 months after seed collection, suggesting light inhibition of seed germination. A 2×2 factorial design was conducted to test the effects of nitrogen (N fertilization and non-N fertilization) and light [full sun and shade (i.e., 14% full sun)] on seedling growth and biomass allocation. N fertilization significantly increased seedling growth, resulting in greater seedling height, more branches, more leaves, greater stem biomass, and greater leaf biomass. Seedlings under 14% full sun conditions had a significantly lower percentage of biomass allocated to the stem. The root/shoot ratio was significantly greater in non-N/shade than non-N/full sun, while there was no significant difference in this ratio between N/shade and N/full sun, suggesting that nitrogen fertilization compensated for the effect of shade on biomass allocation. Our results suggest that N fertilization could be employed in restoration of F. qinlingensis stands after die-off following mass flowering.


Bamboo Fargesia qinlingensis Nitrogen Light Regeneration 



We would like to thank Dr. Takuya Kajimoto and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on the manuscript, and Leigang Zhao, Junan Li, and Tianshun Yue for collecting seeds from the field. We thank Dr. Barbara Taller for kindly allowing us to use the greenhouse for seedling experiment and Dr. S. Reza Pezeshki for kindly allowing us to use his laboratory for seed germination experiment. This research was supported by the Memphis Zoo.


  1. Abrahamson WG, Caswell H (1982) On the comparative allocation of biomass, energy, and nutrients in plants. Ecology 63:982–991CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bazzaz FA (1979) The physiological ecology of plant succession. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 10:351–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bigelow SW, Ewel JJ, Haggar JP (2004) Enhancing nutrient retention in tropical tree plantations: no short cuts. Ecol Appl 14:28–46Google Scholar
  4. Bloom AJ, Chapin III FS, Mooney HA (1985) Resource limitation in plants—an economic analogy. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 16:363–392Google Scholar
  5. Catovsky S, Bazzaz FA (2000) The role of resource interactions and seedling regeneration in maintaining a positive feedback in hemlock stands. J Ecol 88:100–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chapin III FS, Bloom AJ, Field CB, Waring RH (1987) Plant responses to multiple environmental factors. Bioscience 37:49–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen SSC (1968) Germination of light-inhibited seed of Nemophila insignis. Am J Bot 55:1177–1183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cirtain MC, Franklin SB, Pezeshki SR (2004) Effects of nitrogen and moisture regimes on Arundinaria gigantea (Walt.) Nuhl. Seedling growth. Nat Area J 24:251–257Google Scholar
  9. Claridge K, Franklin SB (2002) Compensation and plasticity in an invasive plant species. Biol Invasions 4:339–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. De Deyn GB, Raaijmakers CE, Van Der Putten WH (2004) Plant community development is affected by nutrients and soil biota. J Ecol 92:824–834CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dong M, de Kroon H (1994) Plasticity in morphology and biomass allocation in Cynodon dactylon, a grass species forming stolons and rhizomes. Oikos 70:99–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Elizabeth J, Ballantine M, Forde BJ (1970) The effect of light intensity and temperature on plant growth and chloroplast ultrastructure in soybean. Am J Bot 57:1150–1159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Felippe GM (1980) Germination of the light-sensitive seeds of Cucumis anguria and Rumex obtusifolius: effects of temperature. New Phytol 84:439–448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Green TH, Mitchell RJ (1992) Effects of nitrogen on the response of loblolly pine to water stress. I. Photosynthesis and stomatal conductance. New Phytol 122:627–633Google Scholar
  15. Hilton JR (1984) The influence of dry storage temperature on the response of Bromus sterilis L. seeds to light. New Phytol 98:129–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Huang H (1994) Preliminary study on natural regeneration of Fargesia denudata. J Bamboo Res 13:37–44Google Scholar
  17. Huberty LE, Gross KL, Miller CJ (1998) Effects on nitrogen addition on successional dynamics and species diversity in Michigan old-fields. J Ecol 86:794–803CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hughes RH (1951) Observation of cane (Arundinaria) flowers, seed, and seedlings in the North Carolina Coastal Plain. B Torrey Bot Club 78:113–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hulme PE (1994) Seedling herbivory in grassland: relative impact of vertebrate and invertebrate herbivores. J Ecol 82:873–880CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Huxley PA (1969) The effect of fluctuating light intensity on plant growth. J Appl Ecol 6:273–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Janzen DH (1976) Why bamboos wait so long to flower. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 7:347–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jordan PW, Nobel PS (1981) Seedling establishment of Ferocactus acanthodes in relation to drought. Ecology 62:901–906CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kolb PF, Robberecht R (1996) Pinus ponderosa seedling establishment and the influence of competition with the bunchgrass Agropyron spicatum. Int J Plant Sci 157:509–515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Li Y, Ren Y, Jia H (2003) The taxonomic studies on the bamboo as the main food of giant panda from Mt. Qinling. Acta Bot Boreal–Occident Sin 23:127–129Google Scholar
  25. Liu X (2001) Mapping and modeling the habitat of giant pandas in Foping nature reserve, China. PhD Dissertation, Wageningen University, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  26. Lonsdale WM, Watkinson AR (1982) Light and self-thinning. New Phytol 90:431–445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Magness JR (1920) Effect of light exposure on plant growth. Bot Gaz 70:246–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mooney HA, Winner WE (1991) Partitioning response of plants to stress. In: Mooney HA, Winner WE, Pell EJ (eds) Response of plants to multiple stresses. Academic, San Diego, pp 129–141Google Scholar
  29. Oliver LR, Harrison SA, McClelland M (1983) Germination of Texas gourd (Cucurbita texana) and its control in soybeans (Glycine max). Weed Sci 31:700–706Google Scholar
  30. Qin Z (1985) Giant pandas found resources in Sichuan China and the regeneration of the bamboo groves. J Bamboo Res 4:1–10Google Scholar
  31. Qin Z, Cai X, Huang J (1989) Seed characteristics and natural regeneration of arrow bamboo (Bashania fangiana). J Bamboo Res 8:1–12Google Scholar
  32. SAS Institute (2004) SAS Users guide: statistics, 9.1 edn. SAS Institute, Cary, NCGoogle Scholar
  33. Schaller GB, Hu J, Pan W, Zhu J (1985) The giant pandas of Wolong. The University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  34. Shi L, Mu K, Xiang Y (1996) Effect of biological hormones on the growth of seedlings of bamboo. Bamboo Res 2:49–55Google Scholar
  35. Soderstrom TR, Calderon CE (1979) A commentary on the bamboos (Poaceae: Bambusoideae). Biotropica 11:161–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Taylor AH, Qin Z (1988) Regeneration from seed of Sinarundinaria fangiana, a bamboo, in the Wolong giant panda reserve, Sichuan, China. Am J Bot 75:1065–1073CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Taylor AH, Qin Z (1993) Bamboo regeneration after flowering in the Wolong giant panda reserve, China. Biol Conserv 63:231–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Taylor AH, Reid DC, Qin Z, Hu J (1991) Spatial patterns and environmental associates of bamboo (Bashania fangiana Yi) after mass-flowering in southwestern China. B Torrey Bot Club 118:247–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tian X (1987) Ecological observation on flowering and regeneration of bamboo forests in Mt. Qinling. Bamboo Res 2:39–43Google Scholar
  40. Tian X (1991) A study on natural regeneration of flowering bamboo forests in Qinling Mountain. J Bamboo Res 10:23–32Google Scholar
  41. Tilman D (1982) Resource competition and community structure. Princeton University Press, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  42. Tjoelker MG, Luxmoore RJ (1991) Soil nitrogen and chronic ozone stress influence physiology, growth and nutrient status of Pinus taeda L. and Liriodendron tulipifera L.seedlings. New Phytol 119:69–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wainhouse D, Ashburner R, Ward E, Rose J (1998) The effect of variation in light and nitrogen on growth and defence in young Sitka Spruce. Funct Ecol 12:561–572CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wallace LL, Mako SA (1993) Nutrient acquisition by clipped plants as a measure of competitive success: the effects of compensation. Funct Ecol 7:326–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Walters MB, Reich PB (1996) Are shade tolerance, survival, and growth linked? Low light and nitrogen effects on hardwood seedlings. Ecology 77:841–853CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wei Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Scott B. Franklin
    • 1
  • Margaret C. Cirtain
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyThe University of MemphisMemphisUSA

Personalised recommendations