Biodiversity Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (4): 367-377.doi: 10.17520/biods.2015240

Special Issue: Plant Diversity in the Dry Valleys of Southwest China

• Original Papers • Previous Article     Next Article

Flora compositions and spatial differentiations of vegetation in dry valleys of Southwest China

Ye Liu1, Xinxin Zhu2, Zehao Shen3, *(), Hang Sun4, *()   

  1. 1 School of Urban Planning and Design, Shenzhen Graduate School, Peking University, Shenzhen 518055.
    2 College of Life Science, Xinyang Normal University, Xinyang, Henan 464000.
    3 Department of Ecology, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, the Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes of the Ministry of Education, Peking University, Beijing 100871.
    4 Key Laboratory of Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650204
  • Received:2015-09-11 Accepted:2016-02-02 Online:2016-05-11
  • Shen Zehao,Sun Hang;

Based on plant community data collected from dry valleys of nine major rivers in Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces of Southwest China, we divided the families and genera of the vascular plants into geographic elements of Chinese flora, and analyzed the spatial patterns. We found the flora of dry valleys of Southwest China revealed a complex composition of geographic elements with wide floristic connections, including 11 family area-types and 15 genera area-types. The ratio of tropical versus temperate floristic elements was 3.06 at the family level, and 1.77 at the genus level, showing a distinctive affinity for tropical floras, and later imprints of temperate floras. A clear floristic linkage existed between the dry valley floras and the Mediterranean, Western- and Central-Asian floras. The percentages of East Asian elements and endemic Chinese elements were below the average value in the flora found for the subtropical region in China. The Sino-Himalayan element had a value higher than that for the Sino-Japan element in the dry valley floras. The floristic affinity to the tropics weakened while affinity to temperate flora intensified moving in the region from the southwest to northeast. Linkages with the Mediterranean-Central Asian floras, and also the percentage of East Asian elements and endemic Chinese elements increased in the same direction. A boundary between the Sino-Japan type and Sino-Himalayan type was detected between the dry valley floras of Nanpanjiang River and Yuanjiang River. With respect to the genus level floristic composition of geographic elements, Nujiang River, Lancangjiang River and Yuanjiang River were separated from the other rivers, which are all upper branches of the Yangtze River. This departure indicated the impacts of the evolution of the Yangtze River, which were characterized by headward erosion, river confluences, on the characteristics of modern flora in dry valleys.

Key words: dry valleys of Southwest China, vascular plants, floristic elements, similarity, spatial differentiation

Fig. 1

The distribution of sampling sites for the vegetation investigation in dry valleys of 9 rivers of Southwest China"

Table 1

The plot distribution of vascular plants in dry valleys of Southwest China"

Number of plots
Elevation (m)
East longitude (°)
North latitude (°)
白龙江 Bailongjiang River 136 762-1,016 104.6-105.21 32.76-33.35
大渡河 Daduhe River 47 1,200-1,432 102.17-102.38 29.64-30.14
金沙江 Jinshajiang River 563 358-3,298 99.17-103.88 25.56-28.69
澜沧江 Lancangjiang River 129 1,010-4,297 98.8-100.22 24.82-28.48
岷江 Minjiang River 24 1,710-2,270 103.42-103.54 31.33-31.4
南盘江 Nanpanjiang River 38 952-1,787 102.94-104.04 23.78-24.74
怒江 Nujiang River 385 680-1,999 98.42-98.91 24.65-28.07
雅砻江 Yalongjiang River 62 1,236-2,736 100.74-101.93 27.73-30.27
元江 Yuanjiang River 228 182-1,530 100.43-103.38 23.01-25.17

Table 2

The composition of dominant families of vascular plants in dry valleys of Southwest China"

种类最多的科 Top families of vascular plants 单属单种科数
Families with single genus and single species
科 Family 百分比
Percentage %


Bailongjiang River
63 125 153 禾本科、菊科、蔷薇科、蝶形花科
Gramineae, Compositae, Rosaceae, Fabaceae
32.80 37.25 38
Daduhe River
80 174 239 菊科、禾本科、蝶形花科、百合科
Compositae, Gramineae, Fabaceae, Liliaceae
31.61 32.22 33
Jinshajiang River Downstream
145 597 1,174 菊科、禾本科、蝶形花科、蔷薇科
Compositae, Gramineae, Fabaceae, Rosaceae
29.65 29.56 40
Jinshajiang River Upstream
118 401 714 菊科、禾本科、蝶形花科、蔷薇科
Compositae, Gramineae, Fabaceae, Rosaceae
31.42 33.19 40
Lancangjiang River
138 465 882 菊科、禾本科、蝶形花科、蔷薇科
Compositae, Gramineae, Fabaceae, Rosaceae
28.17 31.41 37
Minjiang River
39 82 99 菊科、蔷薇科、蝶形花科、禾本科
Compositae, Rosaceae, Fabaceae, Gramineae
37.80 41.41 19
Nanpanjiang River
66 163 206 禾本科、菊科、蝶形花科、大戟科
Gramineae, Compositae, Fabaceae, Euphorbiaceae
37.42 37.86 36
Nujiang River
161 621 1,176 禾本科、菊科、蝶形花科、唇形科
Gramineae, Compositae, Fabaceae, Labiatae
27.05 26.02 44
Yalongjiang River
73 164 240 菊科、蝶形花科、唇形科、蔷薇科
Compositae, Fabaceae, Labiatae, Rosaceae
29.27 31.67 35
Yuanjiang River
89 338 496 禾本科、蝶形花科、菊科、大戟科
Gramineae, Fabaceae, Compositae, Euphorbiaceae
36.09 40.32 30

Table 3

The floristic elements composition of vascular plant family in dry valleys of nice major rivers of Southwest Chica"

Table 4

The floristic elements composition of vascular plant genera in dry valleys of nice major rivers of Southwest China"

Table 5

Tropical / temperate floristic elements ratio of vascular plants at family and genus level in dry valleys of Southwest China"

Taxonomic level
Bailongjiang River
Daduhe River
Jinshajiang River
Jinshajiang River
Lancangjiang River
jiang River
Nanpanjiang River
Nujiang River
jiang River
Yuanjiang River
科 Family 2.56 2.55 3.23 2.45 2.70 1.25 6.17 3.46 2.36 4.89
属 Genus 1.05 1.25 1.90 0.94 1.20 0.39 5.66 2.18 0.74 4.59

Fig. 2

The similarity of flora types among dry valleys at family and genus level. a, family flora; b, genus flora."

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