Ecological Research

, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 971–978 | Cite as

Distribution and stress tolerance of Fimbristylis dichotoma subsp. podocarpa (Cyperaceae) growing in highly acidic solfatara fields

  • Akihiro Yamamoto
  • Jun Wasaki
  • Yuichi Funatsu
  • Takayuki Nakatsubo
Original Article


Solfatara fields, areas surrounding fumaroles (volcanic vents) near the hot springs or volcanoes, are characterized by severe environmental conditions such as low soil pH and high aluminum contents. Fimbristylis dichotoma subsp. podocarpa is an endangered plant distributed in solfatara fields of Kyushu, western Japan. This species is known to form stands in sites closed to fumaroles where another solfatara plant Miscanthus sinensis do not colonize. We conducted field survey and culture experiments to test the hypothesis that F. dichotoma has higher tolerance to low pH and high aluminum conditions than M. sinensis, which corresponds to the distribution pattern of the two species. In the study site of Myoban Hot Spring, Oita Prefecture, rhizosphere soils of F. dichotoma showed lower pH and higher aluminum contents than those of M. sinensis. The culture experiment showed that germination of F. dichotoma was not inhibited even at pH 2, whereas significant decline in germination (%) was observed in M. sinensis. However, because of the low germination (%) of F. dichotoma, the values of the two species were similar at pH 2. In the pot culture, seedling growth of M. sinensis was suppressed at the aluminum concentrations tested (400 mg AlCl3 L−1). Conversely, no significant decline in the seedling growth was observed in F. dichotoma at the same aluminum levels. Considering soil conditions in the field, we concluded that that the difference in the tolerance to aluminum between the two species played a significant role in determining their distribution pattern.


Cyperaceae Volcanic vent Aluminum tolerance Hot spring Plant distribution 



The authors thank Dr. K. Takeda of Hiroshima University for the use of laboratory facilities. We thank Dr. O. Yano of Okayama University of Science for providing us valuable information about Fimbrystilis species. We also thank Dr. Y. Mouri of the Natural Science Center for Basic Research and Development (N-BARD), Hiroshima University for measuring the carbon and nitrogen contents of soil samples.


  1. An GH, Miyakawa S, Kawahara A, Osaki M, Ezawa T (2008) Community structures of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi associated with pioneer grass species Miscanthus sinensis in acid sulfate soils: habitat segregation along pH gradients. Soil Sci Plant Nutr 54:517–528. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andersson M (1988) Toxicity and tolerance of aluminum in vascular plants. Water Air Soil Pollut 9:439–462. Google Scholar
  3. Clark RB (1977) Effect of aluminum on growth and mineral elements of Al-tolerant and Al-intolerant corn. Plant Soil 7:653–662. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Drabek O, Mladkova L, Boruvka L, Szakova J, Nikodem A, Nemecek K (2005) Comparison of water-soluble and exchangeable forms of Al in acid forest soils. J Inorg Biochem 99:1788–1795. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Fageria NK, Baligar VC (2001) Improving nutrient use efficiency of annual crops in Brazilian acid soils for sustainable crop production. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 32:1303–1319. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Foy CD (1988) Plant adaptation to acid, aluminum-toxic soils. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 19:959–987. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hara K (1983) Some observations on revegetation in solfatara on Mt. Hakkoda. Ecol Rev 20:131–134Google Scholar
  8. Horn DB, Squire CR (1966) The estimation of ammonia using the indophenol blue reaction. Clin Chim Acta 14:185–194CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Hoshino T, Masaki T, Nishimoto M (2011) Carex (Cyperaceae). In: Illustrated sedges of Japan. Tokyo, Heibonsya Ltd. 1–523 (in Japanese) Google Scholar
  10. Itoh S (1977) Vegentation of Nagasaki prefecture, western Kyushu Japan. pp 147 (in Japanese) Google Scholar
  11. Japan Meteorological Agency (2010) Climate of Japan. URL: Accessed Feb 2016
  12. Kayama M (2001) Comparison of the aluminum tolerance of Miscanthus sinensis Anderss. and Miscanthus sacchariflorus Bentham in hydroculture. Int J Plant Sci 162:1025–1031. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kochian LV (1995) Cellular mechanisms of aluminum toxicity and resistance in plants. Annu Rev Plant Physiol Plant Mol Biol 46:237–260. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kochian LV, Hoekenga OA, Piñeros MA (2004) How do crop plants tolerate acid soils? Mechanisms of aluminum tolerance and phosphorus efficiency. Annu Rev Plant Biol 55:459–493. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Koyama T (1988) Variations of Fimbristylis dichotoma (L.) Vahl (Cyperaceae) in Japan. J Jpn Bot 63:86–95 (in Japanese) Google Scholar
  16. Larcher W (1995) Physiological plant ecology. Ecophysiology and stress physiology of functional groups, 3rd edn. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  17. Matsumoto H, Hirasawa E, Morimura S, Takahashi E (1976) Localization of aluminium in tea leaves. Plant Cell Physiol 17:627–631. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan (2012) The fourth version of the japanese Red Lists (in Japanese). Accessed Feb 2016
  19. Murphy J, Riley P (1962) A modified single solution method for the determination of phosphate in natural waters. Anal Chim Acta 27:31–36. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Negoro K (1943) Study on solfatara plants. Progress in biology 1. Kyoritsu Shuppan, Tokyo (in Japanese), pp 151–193 (in Japanese) Google Scholar
  21. Numata M (1969) Progressive and retrogressive gradient of grassland vegetation measured by degree of succession—ecological judgement of grassland condition and trend IV. Vegetatio 19:96–127. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ohwi J (1982) Poaceae. In: Satake Y (ed) Wild flowers of Japan Herbaceous plants I. Heibonsya, Tokyo, pp 151–193 (in Japanese) Google Scholar
  23. Panda SK, Matsumoto H (2007) Molecular physiology of aluminum toxicity and tolerance in plants. Bot Rev 73:326–347.[326:MPOATA]2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Tsujimura A (1979) The arrangement of the vegetation of solfataras according to pH value of soils. Ecol Rev 19:59–65Google Scholar
  25. Wagatsuma T (2017) The membrane lipid bilayer as a regulated barrier to cope with detrimental ionic conditions: making new tolerant plant lines with altered membrane lipid bilayer. Soil Sci Plant Nutr 63:507–516. Google Scholar
  26. Watanabe T, Osaki M (2002) Mechanisms of adaptation to high aluminum condition in native plant species growing in acid soils: a review. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 33:1247–1260. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Watanabe T, Osaki M, Tadano T (1997) Aluminum-induced growth stimulation in relation to calcium, magnesium, and silicate nutrition in Melastoma malabathricum L. Soil Sci Plant Nutr 43:827–837. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Yoshii Y (1937) Aluminum requirement of solfatara plants. Bot Mag Tokyo 51:262–270. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Yoshioka K, Saito K, Tachibana H (1965) Solfatara vegetation at Osoreyama. Ecol Rev 16:137–151Google Scholar
  30. Yoshitake S, Sasaki A, Uchida M, Funatsu Y, Nakatsubo T (2007) Carbon and nitrogen limitation to microbial respiration and biomass in an acidic solfatara field. Eur J Soil Biol 43:1–13. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Biosphere ScienceHiroshima UniversityHigashihiroshimaJapan
  2. 2.Handa Municipal MuseumHandaJapan
  3. 3.Oita Prefectural Hita High SchoolHitaJapan

Personalised recommendations