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Article

Leaf Traits and Water-Use Characteristics of Impatiens hainanensis, a Limestone-Endemic Plant under Different Altitudes in Dry and Foggy Seasons

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Key Laboratory of Genetics and Germplasm Innovation of Tropical Special Forest Trees and Ornamental Plants, Ministry of Education, Hainan University, Haikou 570228, China
2
College of Forestry, Hainan University, Haikou 570228, China
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ognjen Bonacci
Water 2022, 14(2), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14020139
Received: 9 December 2021 / Revised: 27 December 2021 / Accepted: 4 January 2022 / Published: 6 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Section Ecohydrology)
The southwestern mountains of Hainan Island are distributed in the southernmost tropical karst landscape of China, and the unique hydrological structure and frequent solifluction droughts lead to double water stress for local plants. Highly heterogeneous water environments affect the water–use characteristics of plants. Plants develop local adaptative mechanisms in response to changes in the external environment. In this paper, hydrogen–oxygen and carbon stable isotope technology, and physiological index measurements were applied to determine the leaf traits, water–use efficiency, and photosynthetic characteristics of Impatiens hainanensis leaves in dry and foggy seasons, hoping to expound the adaptation mechanism of I. hainanensis leaves to the water dynamics in dry and foggy seasons. In dry and foggy seasons (November 2018 to April 2019), the leaves of I. hainanensis at low and medium altitudes have the following combination of traits: larger leaf dry weights, leaf areas, and specific leaf areas; smaller leaf thicknesses and leaf dry matter contents; and higher chlorophyll contents. In comparison, the leaves of I. hainanensis at high altitudes have the following combination of traits: smaller leaf dry weights, leaf areas, and specific leaf areas; larger leaf thicknesses and leaf dry matter contents; and lower chlorophyll contents. The leaves of I. hainanensis can absorb fog water through their leaves. When the leaves are sprayed with distilled water, the water potential is low, the water potential value gradually increases, and the leaves have a higher rate of water absorption. The leaves of I. hainanensis at low and medium altitudes have the following water–use characteristics: high photosynthesis, high transpiration, and low water–use efficiency. At high altitudes, the Pn of I. hainanensis decreases by 8.43% relative to at low altitudes and by 7.84% relative to at middle altitudes; the Tr decreased by 4.21% relative to at low altitudes and by 3.38% relative to at middle altitude; the WUE increased by 16.61% relative to at low altitudes and increased by 40.79% relative to at middle altitudes. The leaves of I. hainanensis at high altitudes have the following water–use characteristics: low photosynthesis, low transpiration, and high water–use efficiency. I. hainanensis develop different physiological mechanisms of water adaptation by weighing the traits of the leaves and their use of light and water to obtain resources during dry and foggy seasons. View Full-Text
Keywords: Impatiens hainanensis; karst; altitude; leaf traits; water utilization Impatiens hainanensis; karst; altitude; leaf traits; water utilization
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MDPI and ACS Style

Huang, W.; Zhong, Y.; Zhang, C.; Ren, M.; Du, Y.; Song, X. Leaf Traits and Water-Use Characteristics of Impatiens hainanensis, a Limestone-Endemic Plant under Different Altitudes in Dry and Foggy Seasons. Water 2022, 14, 139. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14020139

AMA Style

Huang W, Zhong Y, Zhang C, Ren M, Du Y, Song X. Leaf Traits and Water-Use Characteristics of Impatiens hainanensis, a Limestone-Endemic Plant under Different Altitudes in Dry and Foggy Seasons. Water. 2022; 14(2):139. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14020139

Chicago/Turabian Style

Huang, Weixia, Yunfang Zhong, Cuili Zhang, Mingxun Ren, Yanjun Du, and Xiqiang Song. 2022. "Leaf Traits and Water-Use Characteristics of Impatiens hainanensis, a Limestone-Endemic Plant under Different Altitudes in Dry and Foggy Seasons" Water 14, no. 2: 139. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14020139

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