Pteroceltis tatarinowii Maxim, the only species of the genus Pteroceltis (family Ulmaceae) and one of the tertiary relict plants, is unique to China and has been found in 19 provinces, such as Gansu, Guizhou, Anhui, Jiangsu, Shandong, Hubei, and Hunan (Li et al., 2013). Since ancient times, its bark has been widely used as the main raw material for manufacturing traditional Chinese Xuan paper because of its fiber richness (Fang et al., 2004). More recently, it has been recognized for its ornamental value and versatile habitat; therefore, it is being increasingly used in urban landscaping. However, it was listed as an endemic rare tree species in China (Fu, 1991), and it remains rare (Fang et al., 2004; Li et al., 2013).
To meet the expanding demand, many studies of propagation techniques have been performed during the past 20 years. Previous studies mainly focused on seedling culture techniques (An et al., 2011; Sheng, 2006; Yang and Fang, 1996) or seedling growth and physiology (Fu et al., 2001; Liu et al., 2011; Wei et al., 2007). Obviously, propagation by seeds leads to genetic variability and is not suitable for sustaining populations of the species or reproducing improved cultivars or strains. Therefore, vegetative propagation techniques, especially cutting propagation techniques, which have been widely used in the mass production of many other woody plants (Howard, 1996; Phillip et al., 2014; Tworkoski and Takeda, 2007), should be considered. However, so far, few reports of cutting propagation of P. tatarinowii have been published.
The present study was performed to explore stem cutting techniques for P. tatarinowii. The specific objectives were, first, to screen the appropriate exogenous auxin treatment and determine the cutting type by testing the effects of gradient concentrations of indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) and cutting positions on rooting performance and, second, to investigate the effects of the collection times of cuttings on rooting performance and to interpret changes in the initial nutrient reserves of cuttings that are related to rooting responses.
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