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Brazilian Journal of Plant Physiology

On-line version ISSN 1677-9452


HERRERA, Ana; ESCALA, Marcia  and  RENGIFO, Elizabeth. Leaf anatomy changes related to physiological adaptations to flooding in Amazonian tree species. Braz. J. Plant Physiol. [online]. 2009, vol.21, n.4, pp.301-308. ISSN 1677-9452.

In trees of the seasonally flooded forest of the Mapire River in Venezuela, early flooding induces a reversible diminution in leaf conductance and photosynthetic rate. With the aim of finding an anatomical explanation for the observed responses of leaf gas exchange, the characteristics of emerged leaves developed under drainage or after three months of flooding were examined in the tree species Acosmium nitens, Campsiandra laurifolia, Duroia fusifera, Eschweilera tenuifolia, Pouteria orinocoensis and Symmeria paniculata and in leaves developed only under flooding in Inga spuria and Tachigali davidsei. Anatomy was remarkably similar among species and families and consisted of a bi-layered palisade parenchyma, a 5-6-cell-thick spongy parenchyma and large whole-leaf thickness. Anatomy also resembled that of xerophytes or evergreen species by possessing thick cuticles, large epidermal cells, thickened anticlinal epidermal cell walls and an abundance of sclerenchyma. Leaves of flooded v. un-flooded trees were not qualitatively different. Specific leaf area resembled values of deciduous species in tropical dry forests. No quantitative differences were found between leaves developed in un-flooded and flooded trees, with the exception of a reduction in whole-leaf thickness of E. tenuifolia, P. orinocoensis and S. paniculata and a change in the contribution of palisade parenchyma to leaf thickness in E. tenuifolia. Both stomatal size and density in these exclusively hypostomatous species remained unaffected by flooding. A decrease under flooding in whole-leaf thickness may have resulted in an increase in mesophyll conductance and therefore photosynthetic rate.

Keywords : flooding; palisade; parenchyma; sclerenchyma; spongy; stomata; tropical trees.

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