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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 510343, 19 pages
Research Article

The Relationship between Diaspore Characteristics with Phylogeny, Life History Traits, and Their Ecological Adaptation of 150 Species from the Cold Desert of Northwest China

1Key Laboratory of Biogeography and Bioresource in Arid Land, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
2Turpan Eremophytes Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Turpan 838008, China

Received 22 August 2013; Accepted 4 December 2013; Published 30 January 2014

Academic Editors: F. Bussotti, H. Freitas, and G. Kocsy

Copyright © 2014 Hui-Liang Liu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Diaspore characteristics of 22 families, including 102 genera and 150 species (55 represented by seeds and 95 by fruits) from the Gurbantunggut Desert were analyzed for diaspore biological characteristics (mass, shape, color, and appendage type). The diaspore mass and shape were significantly different in phylogeny group (APG) and dispersal syndromes; vegetative periods significantly affected diaspore mass, but not diaspore shape; and ecotypes did not significantly affect diaspore mass and shape, but xerophyte species had larger diaspore mass than mesophyte species. Unique stepwise ANOVA results showed that variance in diaspore mass and shape among these 150 species was largely dependent upon phylogeny and dispersal syndromes. Therefore, it was suggested that phylogeny may constrain diaspore mass, and as dispersal syndromes may be related to phylogeny, they also constrained diaspore mass and shape. Diaspores of 85 species (56.67%) had appendages, including 26 with wings/bracts, 18 with pappus/hair, 14 with hooks/spines, 10 with awns, and 17 with other types of appendages. Different traits (mass, shape, color, appendage, and dispersal syndromes) of diaspore decided plants forming different adapted strategies in the desert. In summary, the diaspore characteristics were closely related with phylogeny, vegetative periods, dispersal syndromes, and ecotype, and these characteristics allowed the plants to adapt to extreme desert environments.