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Leaf Display, Canopy Structure, and Light Interception of Two Understory Palm Species

Robin L. Chazdon
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 72, No. 10 (Oct., 1985), pp. 1493-1502
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2443299
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Leaf Display, Canopy Structure, and Light Interception of Two Understory Palm Species
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Abstract

The implications of leaf size, leaf display, and crown size for whole-plant light interception were investigated in Geonoma cuneata and Asterogyne martiana, two understory palm species native to Central American rain forests. Adults of A. martiana had longer leaves, more leaves per plant, and greater total leaf area than G cuneata adults. Geometric measurements within whole crowns were used to calculate light interception efficiency, a leaf-based measure of the proportion of total incident light that is intercepted by a crown. Light interception efficiency was higher in adult G. cuneata than in adult A. martiana; seedlings of the two species did not differ significantly in light interception efficiency. Decreased efficiency of adult A martiana crowns was largely due to an increased proportion of pendent leaves. Compared to G. cuneata, adults of A. martiana had greater light interception capacity (the product of light interception efficiency and total leaf area), but they also had higher biomass costs of light interception. Lower biomass costs of light interception in adult G. cuneata enable this species to exploit successfully the most deeply shaded microsites in the rain forest understory.

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