The main aim of this study was to assess the free lipid composition of plant community in a Chinese peatland. Twelve plant species from the Dajiuhu Peatland were analyzed for the compositions of n-alkanes, n-fatty alcohols and sterols in leaves and roots. The lipid compositions are significantly different between root and leaf for most plants. In some cases, the roots yield more long chain n-alkanes and n-alkanols than the leaves of the corresponding plant. The long chain n- alkanes of the roots in half of the plant species are characterized by a higher Cmax (homologue with the maximum concentration) relative to the leaves. The root-derived sterols and steroidal ketones may be important sources for corresponding compounds within the peat. Because of the different lipid compositions of roots and leaves, more attention should be paid to root-derived lipids for investigations of the lipid composition and their source assessment in soils and terrestrial sediments, where root-derived organic matter can be an important source. The contribution of root-derived lipids may be especially important in peatlands, where acidic and/or anoxic conditions in the subsoil limit the degradation of organic matter and the contribution of leaf litter.