Aims Interspecific relationship is one of the most important properties in plant communities. Analyzing species association and correlation between vertical layers in plant communities is ecologically crucial for understanding community structure, dynamics and classification. The objective of this study was to test how plant species in contrasting vertical layers of plant communities associate and correlate. Methods The study sites are located in Tiantong region in Zhejiang Province. Community structure and species composition were measured in an early successional community of Liquidambar formosana. Interspecific rela-tionships were examined between 3 tree species and 3 sub-tree species, between 3 tree species and 28 shrub spe-cies, and between 3 sub-tree species and 28 shrub species. Interspecific relationships were analyzed by usingχ2-test for 2 × 2 contingency table, variance ratio (VR) test and spearman rank correlation test. Important findings With respect to tree and sub-tree layers, positive significant association was not observed for overall species. Species were independent with each other for most species pairs. Few species pairs showed sig-nificant association or correlation. Regarding tree and shrub layers, there were significant positive associations between overall species. Species between tree and shrub layers were more dependent on each other, with the most species showing significant association or correlation. Similarly, positive significant association existed for overall species between sub-tree and shrub layers, displaying a close interspecific relationship. These results suggest that the convergences of species behavior and habitat acclimatization, and complementary differences in habitat re-quirement over species between vertical layers might be the main driver affecting patterns of species association and correlation in the early successional community.