DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1258.2012.00739

Chinese Journal of Plant Ecology (植物生态学报) 2012/36:8 PP.739-746

Seed mass variation in common plant species in Wanfoshan Natural Reservation Region, Anhui, China


Aims Our objective was to investigate seed mass variation within species, genera and families, as well as its re-lationships with life form and plant phylogeny. Methods Seeds were collected at the Wanfoshan Natural Reservation Region from July to October 2011. Air-dried weight of 100 diaspores, including seeds and indehiscent and single-seeded fruit, was measured for each of three replicates. Seed mass variation and ecological significance were analyzed. Important findings Seed mass varied greatly from 10–3 g to 103 g. The seed mass distribution of various species was normal, as checked by the Kolmogorov-Smirnov Test. The mean weight of 1000 diaspores was 21.487 g. The seed mass of Momordica cochinchinensis (1775.192 g) and Aeginetia indica (0.006 g) were the heaviest and lightest, respectively. More than 60% of the species had a mean seed mass between 0.1 and 10.0 g. The seed mass of 105 species was < 1.0 g. There were significant differences of seed mass among 68 families and eight life forms, as determined by one-way analysis of variance (p < 0.001). Pearson’s relative analysis showed a negative relationship between seed mass and phylogeny (r = –0.079, p = 0.048) and a positive relationship between seed mass and life forms (r = 0.220, p < 0.001). A significant difference was also detected at the generic level (p < 0.001) in some families, including Compositae, Poaceae, Cyperaceae and Rosaceae.

Key words:life form, phylogeny, seed mass, Wanfoshan Natural Reservation Region

ReleaseDate:2014-06-18 16:24:23


Akinola MO, Thompson K, Hillier SH (1998). Development of soil seed banks beneath synthesized meadow communities after seven years of climate manipulations. Seed Science Research, 8, 493-500.

Ayari A, Moya D, Rejeb MN, Mansoura AB, Albouchi A, de Las Heras J, Fezzani T, Henchi B (2011). Geographical variation on cone and seed production of natural Pinus halepensis Mill. forests in Tunisia. Journal of Arid Envi-ronments, 75, 403-410.

Chen H (陈红), Ma YX (马益新), Wang HY (王海洋) (2008). Variation of seed sizes and genetic analysis on woody species of evergreen broad-leaved forest in Jinyun Mountain. Scientia Silvae Sinicae (林业科学), 44(3), 156-161. (in Chinese with English abstract)

Chen YS (陈延松), Zhou ZZ (周忠泽), Xu RX (许仁鑫), Shen J (沈军) (2008). Study on pollen morphology and ecological factors in the region of Yaoluoping Mountains, Anhui. Acta Micropalaeontologica Sinica (微体古生物学报), 25, 166-184. (in Chinese with English abstract)

Clutton-Brock TH, Harvey PH (1971). Primate ecology and social organization. Journal of Zoology, 183, 1-39.

Delectis Florae Republicae Popularis Sinicae Agenda Acade-miae Sinicae Editorial Board (中国植物志编辑委员会) (1959-2005). Flora Republicae Popularis Sinicae, Vol. 9-80 (中国植物志, 9-80卷). Science Press, Beijing. (in Chinese)

Felsenstein J (1985). Phylogenies and the comparative method. The American Naturalist, 125, 1-15.

Flora of Anhui Collaborative Group (安徽植物志协作组) (1987, 1990-1992). Flora of Anhui, Vol. 2-5 (安徽植物志, 2-5卷). Anhui Science & Technology Publishing House, Hefei. (in Chinese)

Guo QF, Brown JH, Valone TJ, Kachman SD (2000). Con-straints of seed size on plant distribution and abundance. Ecology, 81, 2149-2155.

Hay FR, Smith RD (2003). Seed maturity: when to collect seeds from wild plants. In: Smith RD, Dickie JD, Linington SH, Pritchard HW, Probert RJ eds. Seed Conservation: Turning Science into Practise. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK. 97-133.

Huang ZY (黄振英) (2010). The third academic meeting of international society for seed science was held in Salt Lake City, USA. Chinese Journal of Plant Ecology (植物生态学报), 34, 1006. (in Chinese)

Janzen DH (1977). Variation in seed size within a crop of a Costa RicanMucuna andreana (Leguminosae). American Journal of Botany, 64, 347-349.

Leishman MR, Westoby M (1994). The role of seed size in seedling establishment in dry soil conditions―experimental evidence from semi-arid species. Journal of Ecology, 82, 249-258.

Leishman MR, Westoby M (1998). Seed size and shape are not related to persistence in soil in Australia in the same way as in Britain. Functional Ecology, 12, 480-485.

Liu SJ (刘守金), Wang DQ (王德群), Fang CW (方成武), Li LS (李良生), Wang JP (王金品) (2007). Investigation on resources of medicinal plants in Wanfushan Mountain. Research and Practice on Chinese Medicines (现代中药研究与实践), 22(3), 17-19. (in Chinese with English abstract)

Liu ZM (刘志民), Li RP (李荣平), Li XH (李雪华), Luo YM (骆永明), Wang HM (王红梅), Jiang DM (蒋德明), Nan YH (南寅镐) (2004). A comparative study of seed weight of 69 plant species in Horqin sandyland, China. Acta Phy-toecologica Sinica (植物生态学报), 28, 225-230. (in Chinese with English abstract)

Lord J, Westoby M, Leishman MR (1995). Seed size and phylogeny in six temperate floras: constraints, niche-conservatism, and adaptation. The American Naturalist, 146, 349-364.

Mazer SJ (1989). Ecological, taxonomic, and life history correlates of seed mass among Indiana Dune angiosperms. Ecological Monogarphs, 59, 153-175.

Moles AT, Achery DD, Webb CO, Tweddle JC, Dickie JB, Westoby M (2005). A brief history of seed size. Science, 307, 576-580.

Moles AT, Falster DS, Leishman MR, Westoby M (2004). Small-seeded species produce more seeds per square me-tre of canopy per year, but not per individual per lifetime. Joumal of Ecology, 92, 384-396.

Moles AT, Hodson DW, Webb CJ (2000). Seed size and shape and persistence in the soil in the New Zealand flora. Oikos, 89, 541-545.

Münzbergová Z, Plačková I (2010). Seed mass and population characteristics interact to determine performance of Scor-zonera hispanica under common garden conditions. Flora-Morphology, Distribution, Functional Ecology of Plants, 205, 552-559.

Ngulube MR, Hall JB, Maghembe JA (1997). Fruit, seed and seedling variation in Uapaca kirkiana from natural populations in Malawi. Forest Ecology and Management, 98, 209-219.

Ou ZL (欧祖兰), Chen YS (陈延松), Zhou SB (周守标), Xu ZD (徐忠东) (2012). Size variation of seeds matured in autumn of common plants in Tianma Natural Reservation Region, Anhui Province. Journal of Plant Resources and Environment (植物资源与环境学报), 21(2), 53-59. (in Chinese with English abstract)

Peco B, Traba J, Levassor C, Sánchez AM, Azcárate FM (2003). Seed size, shape and persistence in dry Mediterra-nean grass and scrublands. Seed Science Research, 13, 87-95.

Rees M, Westoby M (1997). Game-theoretical evolution of seed mass in multi-species ecological models. Oikos, 78, 116-126.

Silvertown JW (1981). Seed size, life span, and germination date asco-adapted features of plant life history. The American Naturalist, 118, 860-864.

Thompson K (1987). Seed and seed banks. New Phytologist, 106, 23-24.

Thompson K, Band SR, Hodgson JG (1993). Seed size and shape predict persistence in soil. Functional Ecology, 7, 236-241.

Yang X (杨霞), Liang Y (梁艳), Chen XL (陈学林) (2007). Variation in seed size of some common plant species on the eastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Ecological Science (生态科学), 26, 483-489. (in Chinese with English abstract)

Yu SL (于顺利), Chen HW (陈宏伟), Li H (李晖) (2007). Review of advances in ecology of seed mass. Journal of Plant Ecology (Chinese Version) (植物生态学报), 31, 989-997. (in Chinese with English abstract)

Yu SL (于顺利), Sternberg M, Jiang GM (蒋高明), Liu MZ (刘美珍), Kutiel P (2005). The effects of seeds size on the distribution and abundances of plants and seed banks in a Mediterranean coastal sand dune. Acta Ecologica Sinica (生态学报), 25, 749-755. (in Chinese with English abstract)

Zhang ST (张世挺), Du GZ (杜国祯), Chen JK (陈家宽) (2003). The present situation and prospect of studies on evolutionary ecology of seed size variation. Acta Ecologica Sinica (生态学报), 23, 353-364. (in Chinese with English abstract)

Zhao LP, Wu GL, Cheng JM (2011). Seed mass and shape are related to persistence in a sandy soil in northern China. Seed Science Research, 21, 47-53.

Zhong YK (仲延凯), Bao QH (包青海), Sun W (孙维), Zhang HY (张海燕) (2001). The influence of mowing on seed amount and composition in soil seed bank of typical steppe. III. Size and weight of seeds of 120 plant species. Acta Scientiarum Naturalium Universitatis Neimongol (内蒙古大学学报(自然科学版)), 32, 280-286. (in Chinese with English abstract)

Zou LX (邹联新), Wu GF (吴国芳) (1997). Study on the flora of Zhutoujian Mountainous Region of Shucheng County, Anhui Province. Journal of East China Normal University (Natural Science) (华东师范大学学报(自然科学版)), (3), 78-84. (in Chinese with English abstract)