Acta Botanica Brasilica
Print version ISSN 0102-3306
CAPUZZO, Juliana Pfrimer; ROSSATTO, Davi Rodrigo and FRANCO, Augusto César. Differences in morphological and physiological leaf characteristics between Tabebuia aurea and T. impetiginosa is related to their typical habitats of occurrence. Acta Bot. Bras. [online]. 2012, vol.26, n.3, pp. 519-526. ISSN 0102-3306. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-33062012000300002.
The genus Tabebuia is representative of the Cerrado biome, occurring in savanna and forest formations. These vegetation types are associated with distinct environmental conditions in terms of water availability, microclimate and soil properties. We compared morphological and physiological traits between Tabebuia aurea (Silva Manso) Benth. & Hook. f. ex S. Moore, which is typical of the savanna vegetation, and T. impetiginosa (Mart. ex DC.) Standl, which is commonly found in the gallery forests that occur along streams and rivers. Both were sampled in savanna conditions under full sun. The savanna species had higher values of leaf and petiole thickness, specific leaf mass, maximum CO2 assimilation on a leaf area basis, stomatal conductance, transpiration and in leaf concentration of carotenoids. The forest species stood out by higher values of specific leaf area, petiole length and of CO2 assimilation on a mass basis, parameters related to shade tolerance and higher growth rates. This functional distinction in a range of leaf traits that was maintained when both were naturally growing under similar environmental conditions, suggests that these are probably the result of differences in the evolutionary history of the two species in response to the contrasting environmental conditions in the typical habitats where they occur.
Keywords : Cerrado; CO2 assimilation; leaf area; photosynthetic pigments; Tabebuia.