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Calathea lutea is a broad-leaved, secondary successional plant which shows complex leaf movements involving both elevation and folding of the leaf surface about the pulvinus. In the plants studied, mean leaf elevation increased from approximately 34 degrees in the early morning to 70 degrees at noon while the angle of leaf folding increased from 13 degrees to 50 degrees over the same time period. During the period from early morning to noon, these movements resulted in a significant decrease in the cosine of the angle of incidence, a measure of the direct solar radiation intercepted. The observed changes in elevational angle significantly reduce the cosine of angle of incidence while folding does not significantly reduce the fraction of direct solar radiation intercepted during the period of direct exposure of the leaf surface to the solar beam. Since elevational changes seem to account for the reduction in exposure to direct solar radiation, the role of folding remains unclear.
Oecologia © 1985 Springer