Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 132, Issue 1, pp 69–80 | Cite as

Effect of the population density on belowground bud bank of a rhizomatous clonal plant Leymus secalinus in Mu Us sandy land

  • Dong-mei Zhang
  • Wen-zhi ZhaoEmail author
  • Wei-cheng Luo
Regular Paper


Clonal propagation is the main strategy for clonal plants to adapt to wind-sand habitat, and underground bud bank could reflect the potential ability of clonal propagation. However, the effects of population density on belowground bud bank are unknown, hindering efforts in the process of dune stabilization. We investigated the horizontal density and vertical distribution of belowground bud bank of a typical rhizomatous grass Leymus secalinus, and soil water content in four dune types with different population density (dune type I: 11.2 ± 1.7 no. m−2, type II: 24.2 ± 2.6 no. m−2, type III: 40.0 ± 4.0 no. m−2, and type IV: 53.5 ± 7.2 no. m−2) in Mu Us sandy land. Our results showed that (1) total bud density of population increased markedly with increasing population density, but it did not exhibit significant difference between dune types III and IV, where density was about 130 buds m−2; and tiller bud density of population first increased, then decreased, and reached a maximum in dune type III. (2) Total bud density per individual in dune type III was significantly larger than that in other dune types (P < 0.05), whereas rhizome and tiller bud density per individual did not show significant differences in dune types II, III and IV (P > 0.05). (3) Buds tended to be concentrated at 10–30 cm soil layer in all dune types, and be buried deeper in dune types III and IV than that in dune types I and II. (4) No pronounced relationship was shown between bud density and soil water content in 10–30 cm soil layer with increasing population density. Our results suggest that moderate population density (40.0 ± 4.0 no. m−2) significantly increase the bud bank density of L. secalinus population and individual. Soil water content was not the main factor responsible for the density of L. secalinus bud bank. These results can provide important information for implementation of effective sand fixation measures and species selection for desertification control in semiarid sandy land ecosystems.


Belowground bud bank Leymus secalinus Population density Vegetation regeneration Vertical distribution 



This study was funded by the Key Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant no. QYZDJ-SSW-DQC040) and the West Light Program for Talent Cultivation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. We gratefully acknowledge the editors and anonymous reviewers for their critical comments which contributed to improve the manuscript. We also thank Dr. Kathryn B. Piatek for her assistance with English language editing and valuable comments on this article.

Supplementary material

10265_2018_1080_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (582 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 581 KB)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Linze Inland River Basin Research Station, Chinese Ecosystem Research NetworkKey Laboratory of Eco-hydrology of Inland River Basin, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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