Ecological stoichiometry of two common hemiparasite plants and their relationship with host trees in Ailao Mountain, Yunnan, China

TANG Dan-Dan1,2 WU Yi1,2 LIU Wen-Yao1 HU Tao1,2 HUANG Jun-Biao1,2 ZHANG Ting-Ting1,2

(1.CAS Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan, China 666303)
(2.University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China 100049)

【Abstract】Aims The objectives of this study were to characterize the carbon (C):nitrogen (N):phosphorus (P) stoichiometry of the “host branches–haustorias–parasitic branches–parasitic leaves” continuum and to better understand the nutrient relationship between hemiparasite plants and their hosts. Methods The study site is located in the Xujiaba area of Ailao Mountain, Yunnan Province. Two common hemiparasite plants Loranthus delavayi and Taxillus delavayi were selected, and the C, N and P concentrations of host branches, haustorias, parasitic branches and parasitic leaves were measured. Important findings The results showed that, the tendencies of C, N, P stoichiometry characteristics of host branches–haustorias–parasitic branches–parasitic leaves were species specific, and were not identical between the two hemiparasites. The host branches of the same parasitic plant had similar C, N, and P stoichiometry characteristics, and the host species had no significant effect on the stoichiometry of hemiparasites. There was a close coupling relationship between the C, N, P stoichiometry characteristics in the host branches, and the haustorias was weaker than the host branch, the parasitic branch was weaker than the haustorias, and there was no significant correlation between the N and P concentrations in the parasitic leaf. There was significant negative correlation between the host branches and the parasitic leaves of C concentration. The C, N, P stoichiometry characteristics of the haustorias were more similar to the parasitic branches, and it had very significant positive correlation with the host branches. As a key part of the host and parasitic plants, the haustorias had significant correlation with the host branches, which reflected the importance of the host branch nutrients to the parasitic plants. The element stoichiometry and their relationship of the haustorias were more similar to those of the parasitic branches, which embodied that haustorias as a parasitic plant organ had physiological functions similar to those of the parasitic branches. These results provided important data for in-depth study of nutrient utilization strategies and ecological adaptability of hemiparasitic plants.

【Keywords】 hemiparasite; ecological stoichiometry; branch; haustoria; leaf;


【Funds】 National Natural Science Foundation of China (31770496 and 41471050) Biodiversity Conservation Strategy Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (ZSSD-016), and “135 Program” of Chinese Academy of Sciences (2017XTBG-T01)

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This Article



Vol 43, No. 03, Pages 245-257

March 2019


Article Outline


  • 1 Materials and methods
  • 2 Results and analysis
  • 3 Discussion
  • 4 Conclusions
  • References