Selection of waterlogging-tolerant and water purification herbaceous plants for the construction of a sponge city in Shenzhen, China

  • Bing SUN Yangtze University, College of Horticulture and Gardening, Jingzhou, Hubei Province 434025
  • Xiao PAN Yangtze University, College of Horticulture and Gardening, Jingzhou, Hubei Province 434025
  • Liebao HAN Beijing Forestry University, College of Forestry and Garden, Beijing 100052
  • Yongjun FEI Yangtze University, College of Horticulture and Gardening, Jingzhou, Hubei Province 434025
Keywords: comprehensive evaluation; purification capacity; Shenzhen City; sponge city; waterlogging resistance


In recent years, seeking solutions to urban waterlogging and water pollution has always been one of the topics of concern. The problem of urban water accumulation occurs frequently in most areas of China in July and August. The contradiction between supply and demand of urban ecological water is prominent. In order to solve the problem of urban water accumulation caused by rainfall concentration, and to achieve the overall goal of building a water-saving green ecological city, the Shenzhen City should be built into a sponge city. Under this background, the physiological response of different forages to waterlogging stress and the removal of pollutants in rainwater were studied. In this study, ten herbaceous plants commonly used in Shenzhen were used as experimental materials. After 0, 7, 14, 21, 28 days of waterlogging stress treatment, six physiological indexes, such as MDA, SP, and Pro contents and SOD, POD, and CAT activities, were comprehensively evaluated. Combined with the morphological changes of the plants after waterlogging, seven plants with strong waterlogging tolerance were determined, which were O. bodinieri, H. coronarium, I. tectorum, D. ensifolia, R. brittoniana, C. indica, and A. zerumbet. Then, according to their comprehensive evaluation of the removal capacity of pollutants in the rainwater, it is suggested to select O. bodinieri, H. coronarium, I. tectorum and D. ensifolia in areas with serious waterlogging. In areas with serious water pollution, R. brittoniana, A. zerumbet, D. ensifolia and H. coronarium are recommended. However, H. coronarium and D. ensifolia not only have a strong adaptability in the waterlogged environment, but also have a strong ability to remove pollutants in the rainwater, so they are suggested to be alternative herbaceous plants for sponge city in Shenzhen, China.


Metrics Loading ...


Anee TI, Nahar K, Rahman A, Al Mahmud J, Bhuiyan TF, Ul Alam M, Fujita M, Hasanuzzaman M (2019). Oxidative damage and antioxidant defense in Sesamum indicum after different waterlogging durations. Plants 8:196.

Bandurska H, Niedziela J, Pietrowska-Borek M, Nuc K, Chadzinikolau T, Radzikowska D (2017). Regulation of proline biosynthesis and resistance to drought stress in two barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) genotypes of different origin. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 118:427-437.

Davydova EG, Kotova DL, Krysanova TA, Selemenev VF (2005). Spectrophotometric determination of proline in aqueous solutions. Zhurnal Analiticheskoi Khimii 60:802-805.

Durak I, Yalcin S, Burak Cimen MY, Buyukkocak S, Kacmaz M, Ozturk HS (1999). Effects of smoking on plasma and erythrocyte antioxidant defense systems. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Part A 56:373-378.

Durak I, Yurtarslanl Z, Canbolat O, Akyol O (1993). A methodological approach to superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity assay based on inhibition of nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT) reduction. Clinica Chimica Acta: International Journal of Clinical Chemistry 214:103-104.

Elansary HO, El-Ansary DO, Al-Mana FA (2019). 5-Aminolevulinic acid and soil fertility enhance the resistance of rosemary to Alternaria dauci and Rhizoctonia solani and modulate plant biochemistry. Plants 8:585.

Gomez E, Irvine DS, Aitken RJ (1998). Evaluation of a spectrophotometric assay for the measurement of malondialdehyde and 4-hydroxyalkenals in human spermatozoa: relationships with semen quality and sperm function. International Journal of Andrology 21:81-94.

Guo C, Cui Y, Dong B, Luo Y, Liu F, Zhao S, Wu H (2017). Test study of the optimal design for hydraulic performance and treatment performance of free water surface flow constructed wetland. Bioresource Technology 238:461-471.

Hamdy A, Mostafa MK, Nasr M (2018). Zero-valent iron nanoparticles for methylene blue removal from aqueous solutions and textile wastewater treatment, with cost estimation. Water Science and Technology 78:367-378.

Han Q, Guo Q, Korpelainen H, Niinemets U, Li C (2019). Rootstock determines the drought resistance of poplar grafting combinations. Tree Physiology 39:1855-1866.

Jochner S, Alves-Eigenheer M, Menzel A, Morellato LPC (2013). Using phenology to assess urban heat islands in tropical and temperate regions. International Journal of Climatology 33:3141-3151.

Li C, Huang M, Liu J, Ji S, Zhao R, Zhao D, Sun R (2019). Isotope-based water-use efficiency of major greening plants in a sponge city in northern China. PLOS ONE 14(7):e0220083.

Limon-Pacheco J, Gonsebatt ME (2009). The role of antioxidants and antioxidant-related enzymes in protective responses to environmentally induced oxidative stress. Mutation Research-Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis 674:137-147.

Liu H, Jia Y, Niu C (2017). “Sponge city” concept helps solve China’s urban water problems. Environmental Earth Sciences 76.

Loreti E, van Veen H, Perata P (2016). Plant responses to flooding stress. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 33:64-71.

Lowry OH, Rosebrough NJ, Farr AL, Randall RJ (1951). Protein measurement with the Folin phenol reagent. The Journal of Biological Chemistry 193:265-275.

Lucas WC, Greenway M (2008). Nutrient retention in vegetated and nonvegetated bioretention mesocosms. Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering 134:613-623.

Ma W, Zhao B, Ma J (2019). Comparison of heavy metal accumulation ability in rainwater by 10 sponge city plant species. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 26:26733-26747.

McBean E, Huang G, Yang A, Cheng H, Wu Y, Liu Z, … Bhatti M (2019). The effectiveness of exfiltration technology to support sponge city objectives. Water 11(4):723.

Nie L, He MM (2012). A study on growth and sewage purification of ornamental emerged plants under rivulet water pollution. Acta Agriculturae Universitis Jiangxiensis 34:832-838.

Pearson M, Saarinen M, Nummelin L, Heiskanen J, Roitto M, Sarjala T, Laine J (2013). Tolerance of peat-grown Scots pine seedlings to waterlogging and drought: Morphological, physiological, and metabolic responses to stress. Forest Ecology and Management 307:43-53.

Qi X, Xu W, Zhang J, Guo R, Zhao M, Hu L, … Li Y (2017). Physiological characteristics and metabolomics of transgenic wheat containing the maize C-4 phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC) gene under high temperature stress. Protoplasma 254:1017-1030.

Read J, Fletcher TD, Wevill T, Deletic A (2010). Plant traits that enhance pollutant removal from stormwater in biofiltration systems. International Journal of Phytoremediation 12:34-53.

Rufino JL, Pezza HR, Pezza L (2008). Flow-injection spectrophotometric determination of azithromycin in pharmaceutical formulations using p-chloranil in the presence of hydrogen peroxide. Analytical Sciences: International Journal of the Japan Society for Analytical Chemistry 24:871-876.

Thu Thuy N, Huu Hao N, Guo W, Wang XC (2020). A new model framework for sponge city implementation: Emerging challenges and future developments. Journal of Environmental Management 253.

Tian L, Bi W, Liu X, Sun L, Li J (2019). Effects of waterlogging stress on the physiological response and grain-filling characteristics of spring maize (Zea mays L.) under field conditions. Acta Physiologiae Plantarum 41:63.

Ullah I, Waqas M, Khan MA, Lee I-J, Kim W-C (2017) Exogenous ascorbic acid mitigates flood stress damages of Vigna angularis. Applied Biological Chemistry 60:603-614.

Van Tai T, Singh RP, Fu D (2017). Transformation impact of vertical revetment on the river water quality and its mechanism. Desalination and Water Treatment 84:111-122.

Xu D-F, Pan Q-C, Li Y-X, Chen X-Y, Wang J-J, Zhou L (2018). Effect of biochar on root morphological characteristics of wetland plants and purification capacity of constructed wetland. Huanjing kexue 39:3187-3193.

Yadav DK, Hemantaranjan A (2017). Mitigating effects of paclobutrazol on flooding stress damage by shifting biochemical and antioxidant defense mechanisms in mungbean (Vigna radiata L.) at pre-flowering stage. Legume Research 40:453-461.

Zhang X, Yin H, Chen S, He J, Guo S (2014). Changes in antioxidant enzyme activity and transcript levels of related genes in Limonium sinense kuntze seedlings under NaCl stress. Journal of Chemistry 749047.

Zheng YX, Wu JC, Cao FL, Zhang YP (2010). Effects of water stress on photosynthetic activity, dry mass partitioning and some associated metabolic changes in four provenances of neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss). Photosynthetica 48:361-3699.

Zhu ML, Guo YP, Huang XM, Liao J, Gao PF (2016). Study on suitability of three amphibian plants for LID technical measures. Water Resources Protection 32(01):46-50.

How to Cite
SUN, B., PAN, X., HAN, L., & FEI, Y. (2020). Selection of waterlogging-tolerant and water purification herbaceous plants for the construction of a sponge city in Shenzhen, China. Notulae Botanicae Horti Agrobotanici Cluj-Napoca, 48(2), 1043-1056.
Research Articles