Morphological analysis of leaf growth of maize : responses to temperature and light intensity

H.J. Bos, H. Tijani-Eniola, P.C. Struik

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24 Citations (Scopus)


To increase understanding of the mechanisms involved in leaf-area expansion in the Poaceae, effects of environmental factors on leaf growth of the non-tillering species maize (Zea mays L.) were analysed quantitatively. A growth chamber experiment was carried out with maize cv. Luna including different combinations of temperature (day/night temperatures 13/8, 18/13, 23/18 and 28/23°C) and photosynthetic-photon-flux density (PPFD) (104, 185 and 277 micro mol m-2 s-1). At 13/8°C, a large proportion of the plants died due to prolonged exposure to cold stress. Both high temperatures and high PPFDs increased leaf-appearance rate. Maximum leaf width was highest at intermediate temperatures and high PPFDs, and was strongly related to specific-leaf weight (R²adj=0.88). Leaf-elongation rate increased and leaf-elongation duration decreased with temperature, the resultant being a maximum final leaf length at 23/18°C. Leaf length decreased slightly with PPFD, caused by a shorter leaf-elongation duration. Leaf shape has been described with a new function and was different for Leaves 1 and 2 than for higher-positioned leaves. Leaf width was closely associated with specific leaf weight. The observed relationships can be used in dynamic simulation of leaf area based on plant morphology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-198
JournalNetherlands Journal of Agricultural Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000

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