Biodiv Sci ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (3): 314-322.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2019091

• Original Papers • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Phenotypic fruit and seed variations of Acer catalpifolium, a Wild Plant with Extremely Small Populations in China

Qiuhong Feng1,2,*(),Dengfeng Li1,4,Tao Yu3,Junqing Li3,Wenbao Ma1,2,Lei Zhang5   

  1. 1. Sichuan Academy of Forestry, Sichuan Wolong Forest Ecosystem Research Station, Chengdu 610081
    2. Ecological Restoration and Conservation on Forest and Wetland Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Chengdu 610081
    3. Key Laboratory for Silviculture and Conservation of MOE, Beijing 100083
    4. Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu 611130
    5. Key Laboratory of Forest Silviculture of the State Forestry and Grassland Administration, Research Institute of Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091
  • Received:2019-03-28 Accepted:2019-09-05 Online:2020-03-20 Published:2020-05-08
  • Contact: Qiuhong Feng


Phenotypic variation can indicate the adaptation of plant species to different environmental conditions due to long-term evolution. Acer catalpifolium is a relatively primitive species in Aceraceae family, and is a rare and endangered species in China. To understand the range of phenotypic variation of A. catalpifolium’s fruits and seeds, 11 traits for 47 individuals from five natural small populations of A. catalpifolium were measured and parameterized using coefficients of variance, variation, and correlation. The results showed significant differences in phenotypic variation among and within populations. Overall variation was greater within population (63.11%) than among populations (23.61%) while the mean phenotypic differentiation coefficient was 27.23% among populations, larger than other species in Aceraceae. The average variation coefficient of seed thickness (ST) was the highest (40.64%), followed by fruit stalk length (FSL); thousand-fruit weight (TFW) was the smallest and the most stable phenotypic trait (1.57%). The Dujiangyan population has the highest phenotypic diversity and Pingwu population the lowest. Meteorological factors were not associated to fruit and seed size variations of A. catalpifolium. The fruits of the Leibo population were largest while the seeds of Pingwu population were the biggest. These two populations also have the thickest seeds. Fruit/seed size is considered as an indicator of quality, because bigger fruit/seed could provide more nutrients for next generations, therefore, the Leibo and Pingwu populations should be the priority when collecting germplasms of A. catalpifolium.

Key words: Acer catalpifolium, seed and fruit, phenotypic traits, meteorological factors, extremely small populations