Presentation on theme: "Tropical Morphology How Plants Adapt Rain Forest The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Leaf Structures Light Management."— Presentation transcript:
Tropical Morphology How Plants Adapt Rain Forest The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Leaf Structures Light Management Strategies
About The Author Dr. Paul A. Thomas – Professor of Floriculture – Department of Horticulture – The University of Georgia – Extension Specialist – Really into Photography!
Learning Objectives 1. Be able to decribe the ways plants manage light within their own canopy zone to enhance their own survival in low light conditions within the rainforest 2. Describe what a typical rain forest tree canopy looks like in cross section, and explain why this is so.
Rain Forest Canopy
Maintains Leaves Only Where There Is Light
Rapid New Growth When Sunlight Is Present
Epiphytic Growth On Branches
Epiphytic Growth on Stems/Trunk
Light Capture Strategy Radial Distribution of Leaves
Leaflets that can raise up or go flat depending on light levels.
Overlapping radial leaves
Staggered Leaflets allow leaflets to turn toward the light
Stagger Leaves – Larger the spaces, the more likely the plant grows near the forest floor.
Allowing light to pass through otherwise large leaves is how Philodendron shares light with leaves lower down on its stem. Perforated Leaves
More Off-Set Leaves
A great place to study tropical leaf morphology!
Summary We have seen that there are many different ways plant leaves can adapt to the relative lack of light under the forest canopy, or to the hot, intense tropical sunlight at the canopy. Leaf staggering, or light-sharing is a common approach to forest floor plants and vines that must collect every scrap of light that makes it down to the forest floor.
Assessment Opportunity Explain how leaf orientation can help increase or decrease light being received by the plant. How does having leaflets with the ability to bend towards light help forest floor plants? Which do you think is a more successful strategy? Being an epiphyte or eventually growing up to being a tall canopy tree? What are the advantages and disadvantages of both strategies?