Computational Models Growth & Development

Modelling Three-Dimensional Leaf Shape Variation

L-Cucumber’s leaf prototype mimics leaf shape of stressed plants.

Leaf shape plays a key role in the interaction of a plant with its environment. Studies involving environmental light interactions could be improved by capturing the complexity in size and 3-D shape of growing leaves. Environmental stress furthers the complexity of this task; resulting in changes in leaf growth rate, shape, and area.

In a new paper published in in silico Plants, Dominik Schmidt and Katrin Kahlen, both of Hochschule Geisenheim University, established a dynamic leaf shape model for the application in the environment-sensitive, dynamic functional-structural plant model (FSPM) L-Cucumber.

According to Dr. Schmidt, researcher at the Department of Modeling and Systems Analysis, “The previous versions of L-Cucumber did not consider 3-D leaf shape variation due to positional variation or environmental stress. We incorporated differences in leaf shape due to salt stress, leaf size and rank into the model to evaluate the effects of natural leaf shape variation on the FSPM.”

Changes in leaf shape captured by the dynamic 3-D model affected light harvest both in quality and quantity improving model performance compared to a simple static leaf shape.

L-Cucumber is available from the authors upon request.