alexa Tree architecture in relation to leaf dimensions and tree stature in temperate and tropical rain forests
General Science

General Science

Forest Research: Open Access

Author(s): David A King

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Most trees can be classified as showing one of two contrasting types of branching pattern. In orthotropic branching, the axes are upwardly inclined and the leaves are arranged around them in more or less radial symmetry, whereas in plagiotropic branching, planes of foliage are formed from leaves arranged along the sides of nearly horizontal twigs (Halléet al. 1978; Givnish 1984). However, the functional significance of this distinction is poorly understood, although it has been suggested that reduced leaf overlap in plagiotropic crowns might enhance shade tolerance. Whole-forest studies provide evidence that plagiotropic species are more common in primary than in secondary forests (de Foresta 1983; Rollet 1990), but there are many examples of plagiotropic pioneers (Ackerly 1996) and orthotropic shade-tolerants (Shukla & Ramakrishnan 1986). Dwarf palms, which are common in wet lowland forests of the Atlantic plains of Costa Rica, are orthotropic, but achieve efficient light interception by rosettes of nearly horizontal non-overlapping fronds (Chazdon 1985).

This article was published in Journal of Ecology and referenced in Forest Research: Open Access

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