iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


A comparative study of growth and leaf trait variation in twenty Cornus wilsoniana W. families in southeastern China

Xiangrong Cheng (1), Hongtao Xie (1), Liangbo Zhang (2), Minghuai Wang (3), Changzhu Li (2), Mukui Yu (1), Zhenxiang He (4)   

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 10, Issue 5, Pages 759-765 (2017)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor2288-010
Published: Sep 02, 2017 - Copyright © 2017 SISEF

Research Articles

To investigate the genotypic differences associated with the growth potential and leaf traits of Cornus wilsoniana W., we planted twenty C. wilsoniana families in southeastern China and analyzed nineteen leaf morphological and physiological traits that have potential relationships with growth. Seedling growth and leaf traits exhibited high variability among the C. wilsoniana families. The phenotypic coefficients of variation (CVs) of these traits varied from 5.33% (leaf length/leaf width, LL/LW) to 23.17% (stomatal conductance, gs), and their heritabilities (H2) ranged from 0.17 (chlorophyll a/chlorophyll b, Chla/Chlb) to 0.75 (stem height, H and Chla). There was greater genetic variation in the physiological traits than in the morphological traits. H was significantly positively correlated with instantaneous water use efficiency (WUE), Chla, Chlb and total Chl, and diameter (D) was significantly positively correlated with net photosynthetic rate (Pn), gs, WUE, Chla, Chlb and total Chl and was negatively correlated with leaf phosphorus (LP). Based on cluster analysis, three families were selected as superior families for the study area due to their seedling growth and leaf traits. These results indicate that Pn, Chla, Chlb and total Chl are good indicators to use for selecting superior families of C. wilsoniana with better growth performance; additionally, high WUE and low LP are also critical leaf traits for cultivar selection because plant adaptation to environmental conditions is important for growth performance.


Plant Growth, Leaf Traits, Intraspecific Variation, Genetic Heritability

Authors’ address

Xiangrong Cheng
Hongtao Xie
Mukui Yu
East China Coastal Forest Ecosystem Long-term Research Station, Research Institute of Subtropical Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Hangzhou, 311400 (P.R. China)
Liangbo Zhang
Changzhu Li
Hunan Engineering Research Center of Biodiesel, Hunan Academy of Forestry, Changsha, 410004 (P.R. China)
Minghuai Wang
Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Silviculture, Protection & Utilization, Guangdong Academy of Forestry, Guangzhou, 510520 (P.R. China)
Zhenxiang He
State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093 (P. R. China)

Corresponding author

Zhenxiang He


Cheng X, Xie H, Zhang L, Wang M, Li C, Yu M, He Z (2017). A comparative study of growth and leaf trait variation in twenty Cornus wilsoniana W. families in southeastern China. iForest 10: 759-765. - doi: 10.3832/ifor2288-010

Academic Editor

Gianfranco Minotta

Paper history

Received: Nov 21, 2016
Accepted: Jun 21, 2017

First online: Sep 02, 2017
Publication Date: Oct 31, 2017
Publication Time: 2.43 months

Breakdown by View Type

(Waiting for server response...)

Article Usage

Total Article Views: 19228
(from publication date up to now)

Breakdown by View Type
HTML Page Views: 14353
Abstract Page Views: 1029
PDF Downloads: 3054
Citation/Reference Downloads: 16
XML Downloads: 776

Web Metrics
Days since publication: 2426
Overall contacts: 19228
Avg. contacts per week: 55.48

Article Citations

Article citations are based on data periodically collected from the Clarivate Web of Science web site
(last update: Nov 2020)

Total number of cites (since 2017): 4
Average cites per year: 1.00


Publication Metrics

by Dimensions ©

Articles citing this article

List of the papers citing this article based on CrossRef Cited-by.

Bunn SM, Rae AM, Herbert CS, Taylor G (2004)
Leaf-level productivity traits in Populus grown in short rotation coppice for biomass energy. Forestry 77: 307-323.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Chapin III FS, Autumn K, Pugnaire F (1993)
Evolution of suites of traits in response to environmental stress. American Naturalist 142: S78-S92.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Desdevises Y, Legendre P, Azouzi L, Morand S (2003)
Quantifying phylogenetically structured environmental variation. Evolution 57: 2647-52.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Dillen SY, Rood SB, Ceulemans R (2010)
Growth and physiology. In: “Genetics and Genomics of Populus (Plant Genetics and Genomics: Crops and Models), vol 8” (Jansson S, Bhalerao R, Groover A eds). Springer, New York, USA, pp. 39-63.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Dudley SA, Schmitt J (1995)
Genetic differentiation in morphological responses to simulated foliage shade between populations of Impatiens capensis from open and woodland sites. Functional Ecology 9: 655-66.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Flood PJ, Harbinson J, Aarts MGM (2011)
Natural genetic variation in plant photosynthesis. Trends in Plant Science 16: 327-335.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Gratani L (2014)
Plant phenotypic plasticity in response to environmental factors. Advances in Botany 2014 (4): 1-17.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Guha A, Reddy AR (2013)
Leaf functional traits and stem wood characteristics influencing biomass productivity of mulberry (Morus spp. L) genotypes grown in short-rotation coppice system. BioEnergy Research 6 (2): 547-563.
CrossRef | Gscholar
He ZX, Shi SD, Hu YM, Zhang LB, Fu J (2013)
The China Oil Plant Species (COPS) database: a comprehensive web-based database and informatics system providing ecological and chemical traits of oil plants in China. Vegetos 26 (2): 15-22.
Online | Gscholar
Hulshof CM, Swenson NG (2010)
Variation in leaf functional trait values within and across individuals and species: an example from a Costa Rican dry forest. Functional Ecology 24 (1): 217-223.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Jung V, Violle C, Mondy C, Hoffmann L, Muller S (2010)
Intraspecific variability and trait-based community assembly. Journal of Ecology 98: 1134-1140.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Kamiyama C, Katabuchi M, Sasaki T, Shimazaki M, Nakashizuka T, Hikosaka K (2014)
Leaf-trait responses to environmental gradients in moorland communities: contribution of intraspecific variation, species replacement and functional group replacement. Ecological Research 29: 607-617.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Kanaga MK, Ryel RJ, Mock KE, Pfrender ME (2008)
Quantitative-genetic variation in morphological and physiological traits within a quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) population. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 38 (6): 1690-1694.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Li L, Li C, Li P, Zhang L, Li D, Liu R, Xiao Z (2008)
Precocity and high-yield experiment of 15 Swida wilsoniana clones. Hunan Forestry Science and Technology 35 (6): 34-37.
Online | Gscholar
Li X, Hou S, Su M, Yang M, Shen S, Jiang G, Qi D, Chen S, Liu G (2010)
Major energy plants and their potential for bioenergy development in China. Environmental Management 46: 579-589.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Li Y, Wang X, Chen J, Cai N, Zeng H, Qiao Z, Wang X (2015)
A method for micropropagation of Cornus wilsoniana: an important biofuel plant. Industrial Crops and Products 76: 49-54.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Liu MR, Yin SP, Si DJ, Shao LT, Li Y, Zheng M, Wang FW, Li SC, Liu GF, Zhao XY (2015)
Variation and genetic stability analyses of transgenic TaLEA poplar clones from four different sites in China. Euphytica 206 (2): 331-342.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Marron N, Dillen SY, Ceulemans R (2007)
Evaluation of leaf traits for indirect selection of high yielding poplar hybrids. Environmental and Experimental Botany 61: 103-116.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Marron N, Villar M, Dreyer E, Delay D, Boudouresque E, Petit JM, Brignolas F (2005)
Diversity of leaf traits related to productivity in 31 Populus deltoides × Populus nigra clones. Tree Physiology 25 (4): 425-435.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Monclus R, Dreyer E, Delmotte FM, Villar M, Delay D, Boudouresque E, Petit JM, Marron N, Bréchet C, Brignolas F (2005)
Productivity, leaf traits and carbon isotope discrimination in 29 Populus deltoids × P. nigra clones. New Phytologist 167: 53-62.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Müller A, Horna V, Kleemann F, Vornam B, Leuschner C (2013)
Physiological vs. morphological traits controlling the productivity of six aspen full-sib families. Biomass and Bioenergy 56: 274-283.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Müller A, Leuschner C, Horna V, Zhang C (2012)
Photosynthetic characteristics and growth performance of closely related aspen taxa: on the systematic relatedness of the Eurasian Populus tremula and the North American P. tremuloides. Flora 207 (2): 87-95.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Navas ML, Garnier E (2002)
Plasticity of whole plant and leaf traits in Rubia peregrina in response to light, nutrient and water availability. Acta Oecologica 23 (6): 375-383.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Nelson CJ (1988)
Genetic association between photosynthetic characteristics and yield: review of evidence. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 26: 543-554.
Niinemets U, Valladares F (2004)
Photosynthetic acclimation to simultaneous and interacting environmental stresses along natural light gradients: optimality and constraints. Plant Biology 6 (3): 254-268.
CrossRef | Gscholar
O’Brien EK, Mazanec RA, Krauss SL (2007)
Provenance variation of ecologically important traits of forest trees: implications for restoration. Journal of Applied Ecology 44 (3): 583-593.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Pellis A, Laureysens I, Ceulemans R (2004)
Growth and production of a short rotation coppice culture of poplar. I. Clonal differences in leaf characteristics in relation to biomass production. Biomass and Bioenergy 27: 9-19.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Pliura A, Zhang SY, MacKay J, Bousquet J (2007)
Genotypic variation in wood density and growth traits of poplar hybrids at four clonal trails. Forest Ecology and Management 238: 92-106.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Ponton S, Dupouey J-L, Bréda N, Feuillat F, Bodenes C, Dreyer E (2001)
Carbon isotope discrimination and wood anatomy variations in mixed stands of Quercus robur and Quercus petraea. Plant, Cell and Environment 24: 861-868.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Poorter H, Garnier E (1999)
Ecological significance of inherent variation in relative growth rate. In: “Handbook of Functional Plant Ecology” (Pugnaire F, Valladares X eds). Marcel Dekker, New York, USA, pp. 81-120.
Online | Gscholar
Rae AM, Robinson KM, Street NR, Taylor G (2004)
Morphological and physiological traits influencing biomass productivity in short rotation coppice poplar. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 34: 1488-1498.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Rawat K, Bakshi M (2011)
Provenance variation in cone, seed and seedling characteristics in natural populations of Pinus wallichiana AB Jacks (Blue Pine) in India. Annals of Forest Research 54 (1): 39-55.
Online | Gscholar
Reddy BK, Rao DMR, Reddy MP, Jayaram RH, Suryanarayana N (2003)
Variation of chlorophyll content and its relationship with leaf area and leaf yield in mulberry genotypes (Morus spp.). Advances in Plant Sciences 16 (1): 277-280.
Safavi SA, Pourdad SA, Mohmmad T, Mahmoud K (2010)
Assessment of genetic variation among safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) accessions using agro-morphological traits and molecular markers. Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment 8: 616-625.
Online | Gscholar
Selaya NG, Anten NPR (2008)
Differences in biomass allocation, light interception and mechanical stability between lianas and trees in early secondary tropical forest. Functional Ecology 22 (1): 30-39.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Shao H, Chu L (2008)
Resource evaluation of typical energy plants and possible functional zone planning in China. Biomass and Bioenergy 32: 283-288.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Singh M, Ceccarelli S, Hamblin J (1993)
Estimation of heritability from varietal trials data. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 86: 437-441.
Online | Gscholar
Thumma BR, Naidu BP, Chandra A, Cameron DF, Bahnisch LM, Liu C (2001)
Identification of causal relationships among traits related to drought resistance in Stylosanthes scabra using QTL analysis. Journal of Experimental Botany 52: 203-214.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Valladares F, Martinez-Ferri E, Balaguer L, Perez-Corona E, Manrique E (2000)
Low leaf-level response to light and nutrients in Mediterranean evergreen oaks: a conservative resource-use strategy? New Phytologist 148: 79-91.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Veneklaas EJ, Santos Silva MPRM, Den Ouden F (2002)
Determinants of growth rate in Ficus benjamina L. compared to related faster-growing woody and herbaceous species. Scientia Horticulturae 93: 75-84.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Verlinden MS, Broeckx LS, Van Den Bulcke J, Van Acker J, Ceulemans R (2013)
Comparative study of biomass determinants of 12 poplar (Populus) genotypes in a high-density short-rotation culture. Forest Ecology and Management 307: 101-111.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Violle C, Enquist BJ, McGill BJ, Jiang LIN, Albert CH, Hulshof C, Messier J (2012)
The return of the variance: intraspecific variability in community ecology. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 27 (4): 244-252.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Wang G, Liu J, Meng T (2015)
Leaf trait variation captures climate differences but differs with species irrespective of functional group. Journal of Plant Ecology 8 (1): 61-69.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Weih M (2009)
Genetic and environmental variation in spring and autumn phenology of biomass willows (Salix spp.): effects on shoot growth and nitrogen economy. Tree Physiology 29 (12): 1479-1490.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Weiher E, Freund D, Bunton T, Stefanski A, Lee T, Bentivenga S (2011)
Advances, challenges and a developing synthesis of ecological community assembly theory. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 366 (1576): 2403-2413.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Wright GC, Rao RCN, Farquhar GD (1994)
Water-use efficiency and carbon isotope in peanuts under water deficit conditions. Crop Science 34: 92-97.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Yu Q, Pulkkinen P, Rautio M, Haapanen M, Alen R, Stener LG (2001)
Genetic control of wood physicochemical properties, growth, and phenology in hybrid aspen clones. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 31 (8): 1348-1356.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Zhao X, Xia H, Wang X, Wang C, Liang D, Li K, Liu G (2016)
Variance and stability analyses of growth characters in half-sib Betula platyphylla families at three different sites in China. Euphytica 208 (1): 173-186.
CrossRef | Gscholar

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. More info