Leaf biomechanics, morphology, and anatomy of the Deciduous Mesophyte Prunus serrulata (Rosaceae) and the evergreen Sclerophyllous Shrub Heteromeles arbutifolia (Rosaceae).

Leaf tensile properties were compared between the mesic deciduous tree Prunus serrulata (var. 'Kwanzan') and the xeric and sclerophyllous chaparral evergreen shrub Heteromeles arbutifolia (M. Roem). All values for biomechanical parameters for H, arbutifolia were significantly greater than those of P. serrulata. The fracture planes also differed between the two species with P. serrulata fracturing along the secondary veins, while H. arbutifolia most often fractured across the leaf irrespective of the vein or mesophyll position, thus yielding qualitative differences in the stress-strain curves of the two species. Anatomically. P. serrulata exhibits features typical for a deciduous mesophytic leaf such as a thin cuticle, a single layer of palisade mesophyll, isodiametric spongy mesophyll, and extensive reticulation of the laminar veins. Heteromeles arbutifolia leaves, however, are typically two- to three-fold thicker with a 35% higher dry mass/fresh mass ratio. The vascular tissue is restricted to the interface of the palisade and spongy mesophyll near the center of the leaf. Both epidermal layers have a thick cuticle. The palisade mesophyll is tightly packed and two to three layers thick. The spongy mesophyll cells are ameboid in shape and tightly interlinked both to other spongy cells as well as to the overlying palisade layer. We conclude that the qualitative and quantitative biomechanical differences between the leaves of these two species are likely due to a complex interaction of internal architectural arrangement and the physical/chemical differences in the properties of their respective cell walls. These studies illustrate the importance that morphological and anatomical correlates play with mechanical behavior in plant material and ultimately reflect adaptations present in the leaves of chaparral shrubs that are conducive to surviving in arid environments.

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Main Author: Balsamo, Ronald.
Other Authors: Bauer, Aaron., Davis, Stephen., Rice, Benita.
Language: English
Published: 2003
Online Access: http://ezproxy.villanova.edu/login?url=http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:173964
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