Journal of Arid Land


The parasitic plant Cistanche deserticola attaches to Haloxylon ammodendron, a perennial shrub with high tolerance to salinity and drought. However, little was known about the parasite-host relation between the two species. Effects of the parasite on chlorophyll a fluorescence and nutrient accumulation in the host plant (H. ammodendron) were investigated in the Taklimakan Desert. Some photosynthetic parameters of both host and non-host H. ammodendron plants were measured by in vivo chlorophyll a fluorescence technology in the field. The assimilating branches of host and non-host plants were collected and nutrient and inorganic ion contents were analyzed. The results from field experiments showed that the infection of C. deserticola reduced the non-photochemical quenching of the variable chlorophyll fluorescence (NPQ) and the potential maximum quantum yield for primary photochemistry (Fv/Fm) of the host. Compared with non-host plants, the host H. ammodendron had low nutrient, low inorganic ion contents (Na+ and K+) and low K+/Na+ ratios in the assimilating branches. It suggested that C. deserticola infection reduced the nutrient acquisition and caused damage to the photoprotection through thermal dissipation of the energy of the photosystem II in the host, resulting in a decrease in the tolerance to salinity and high radiation. It was concluded that the attachment of the parasite plant (C. deserticola) had negative effects on the growth of its host.


parasite-host relation; nutrient acquisition; inorganic ion content; non-photochemical quenching; the Taklimakan Desert

First Page


Last Page


Included in

Botany Commons