Cold hardiness evaluation is important for screening woody species in cold areas. We compared cold hardiness by estimating the 50% lethal temperature (LT50) using electrolyte leakage test (ELLT50) and triphenyltetrazolium chloride test (TTCLT50) for 26 woody species in the Bashang region of China. One-year-old shoots were collected in January and exposed to five subfreezing temperatures in a programmable temperature and humidity chamber. LT50 was estimated by fitting relative electrolyte leakage and percentage of dead tissue against test temperature. For all tested species, triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) staining of the pith was weak and the cambium TTCLT50 was lower than the extreme minimum temperature (−37 °C) recorded in the region. The cambium TTCLT50 and the sd were lower than that for the phloem and xylem. The phloem TTCLT50 was lower than the xylem TTCLT50, and the two sds were similar. The ELLT50 showed no significant correlation with any TTCLT50. For most species, the ELLT50 was higher than the cambium and phloem TTCLT50 and was not significant different with the xylem TTCLT50. The ELLT50 showed higher sd than any tissue TTCLT50. Based on results obtained in this study, when choosing cold hardiness of single stem tissue as an indicator for screening woody species, the xylem should be considered first, followed by the phloem; the cambium and pith were unsuitable. The cold hardiness estimated by ELLT50 was more suitable as indicator for screening woody species than that of stem tissue in winter estimated by TTCLT50.
Photosynthetic physiology of Dendrobium nobile, Dendrobium pendulum, Dendrobium chrysotoxum, and Dendrobium densiflorum was studied. A bimodal diurnal variation of the net photosynthetic rate (Pn) was observed in the four Dendrobium species with the first peak [5.09 to 6.06 μmol (CO2) per m−2·s−1] ≈1100 hr and the second peak [3.83 to 4.58 μmol (CO2) per m−2·s−1] at 1500 hr. No CO2 fixation was observed at night. For all four Dendrobium species, the light compensation point (LCP) was 5 to 10 μmol·m−2·s−1, light saturation point (LSP) ranged from 800 to 1000 μmol·m−2·s−1, apparent quantum yield (AQY) was 0.02, and CO2 compensation points (CCP) and saturation point (CSP) were 60 to 85 μmol·mol−1 and 800 to 1000 μmol·mol−1, respectively. Carboxylation efficiency (CE) values ranged from 0.011 to 0.020. The optimum temperature for photosynthesis was between 26 and 30 °C. The measurement of Pn seasonal variation indicated that July to August had the higher Pn for Dendrobium species. Additionally, the chlorophyll a/b (Chl a/b) ratios of the leaves were 2.77 to 2.89. Measurement of key enzymes in the photosynthetic pathway indicated relatively high Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase (RuBPCase) and glycolate oxidase (GO) activities but very low phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPCase) activities. It suggested that these four Dendrobium species are typical semishade C3 plants.