Main content area

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

Yamamoto, Akihiro, Wasaki, Jun, Funatsu, Yuichi, Nakatsubo, Takayuki
Ecological research 2018 v.33 no.5 pp. 971-978
Fimbristylis, Miscanthus sinensis, aluminum, aluminum chloride, environmental factors, germination, hot springs, plants (botany), pot culture, rhizosphere, seedling growth, soil pH, soil quality, stress tolerance, surveys, volcanoes, Japan
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.