Shade avoidance: Phytochrome signalling and other aboveground neighbour detection cues

Ronald Pierik*, Mieke De Wit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

185 Citations (Scopus)


Plants compete with neighbouring vegetation for limited resources. In competition for light, plants adjust their architecture to bring the leaves higher in the vegetation where more light is available than in the lower strata. These architectural responses include accelerated elongation of the hypocotyl, internodes and petioles, upward leaf movement (hyponasty), and reduced shoot branching and are collectively referred to as the shade avoidance syndrome. This review discusses various cues that plants use to detect the presence and proximity of neighbouring competitors and respond to with the shade avoidance syndrome. These cues include light quality and quantity signals, mechanical stimulation, and plant-emitted volatile chemicals. We will outline current knowledge about each of these signals individually and discuss their possible interactions. In conclusion, we will make a case for a whole-plant, ecophysiology approach to identify the relative importance of the various neighbour detection cues and their possible interactions in determining plant performance during competition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2815-2824
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Arabidopsis
  • canopy
  • competition
  • cryptochrome
  • mechanostimulation
  • phytochrome, shade avoidance.


Dive into the research topics of 'Shade avoidance: Phytochrome signalling and other aboveground neighbour detection cues'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this