Leaf trait variation across the crown of isolated trees

Isolated trees subjected to high irradiance and concomitant stress may adjust leaf phenotypes across the tree crown. The plasticity in structural traits such as leaf angles or size can have profound consequences in the acquisition of the light resource.

Olea europaea sativa
Olea europaea sativa. Photo: Miltos Gikas / Flickr/

Escribano-Rocafort et al. show that the expression of leaf traits in Olea europaea varies continuously through the crown in a gradient of leaf morphotypes and leaf angles depending on the exposure and location of individual leaves. The distribution of light-related traits within the tree crown could lead to complementary light-interception patterns at the individual scale.

Further reading

Adrián G. Escribano-Rocafort, Agustina B. Ventre-Lespiaucq, Carlos Granado-Yela, Rafael Rubio de Casas, Juan A. Delgado, Luis Balaguer, 2016, ' The expression of light-related leaf functional traits depends on the location of individual leaves within the crown of isolated Olea europaea trees ', Annals of Botany, vol. 117, no. 4, pp. 643-651 http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcw004