Leaf development and photosynthetic properties of three tropical tree species with delayed greening

Z.Q. Cai, M. Slot, Z.X. Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Leaf developmental patterns were characterized for three tropical tree species with delayed greening. Changes in the pigment contents, photosynthetic capacity, stomata development, photosystem 2 efficiency, rate of energy dissipation, and the activity of partial protective enzymes were followed in developing leaves in an attempt to elucidate the relative importance of various photoprotective mechanisms during leaf ontogeny. Big leaves of Anthocephalus chinensis, a fast-growing light demanding species, expanded following an exponential pattern, while relatively small leaves of two shade-tolerant species Litsea pierrei and Litsea dilleniifolia followed a sigmoidal pattern. The juvenile leaves of A. chinensis and L. pierrei contained anthocyanin located below the upper epidermis, while L. dilleniifolia did not contain anthocyanin. Leaves of A. chinensis required about 12 d for full leaf expansion (FLE) and photosynthetic development was delayed 4 d, while L. pierrei and L. dilleniifolia required 18 or 25 d for FLE and photosynthetic development was delayed 10 or 15 d, respectively. During the leaf development the increase in maximum net photosynthetic rate was significantly related to changes in stomatal conductance and the leaf maturation period was positively related to the steady-state leaf dry mass per area for the three studied species. Dark respiration rate of leaves at developing stages was greater, and pre-dawn initial photochemical efficiency was lower than that of mature leaves. Young leaves displayed greater energy dissipation than mature leaves, but nevertheless, the diurnal photoinhibition of young L. dilleniifolia leaves was higher than that of mature leaves. The young red leaves of A. chinensis and L. pierrei with high anthocyanin contents and similar diurnal photoinhibition contained more protective enzymes (superoxide dismutase, ascorbate peroxidase) than mature leaves. Consequently, red leaves may have higher antioxidant ability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-98
JournalPhotosynthetica
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Keywords

  • young leaves
  • rain-forest
  • expansion
  • stress
  • photoinhibition
  • anthocyanins
  • syzygium
  • plants
  • damage
  • red

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