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On the Function of Leaf Spines in Ilex opaca
Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club
Vol. 110, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1983), pp. 228-230
Published by: Torrey Botanical Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2996348
Page Count: 3
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A field examination of Ilex opaca (American Holly) leaf types, characterized by differing leaf size and spine number was conducted in various locations in the eastern United States to examine the possible adaptive function of the rigid spines found on these leaves. If spines function as aids to convective cooling, one might expect greater numbers on sun leaves. It was found, however, that sun leaves had fewer spines than shade leaves and were smaller. More spines were found in southern areas (Nags Head, N.C., Accomac, Va.) than northern areas (Sandy Hook, N.J., Cape Cod, Mass.). Rates of herbivory were higher in southern locations. Herbivores preferred leaves with fewer spines. These results support the hypothesis that the major function of spines is deterrence of herbivory, rather than assisting in convective cooling.
Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club © 1983 Torrey Botanical Society