Original Articles


, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 1-10

First online:

The induction of sun and shade leaves of the European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.): anatomical studies

  • Walter EschrichAffiliated withInstitut für Forstbotanik der Universität
  • , Roswitha BurchardtAffiliated withInstitut für Forstbotanik der Universität
  • , Sam EssiamahAffiliated withInstitut für Forstbotanik der Universität

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Primordia from buds of sun and shade twigs of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) were collected six times a year for anatomical investigations. Differentiation into sun-leaf and shade-leaf primordia was first observed in early August. Sun-leaf primordia had five, and shade-leaf primordia four layers of mesophyll meristem cells. With potted graft unions of beeches possible structural changes of leaf primordia were investigated. Trees adapted to shade develop sun-leaf primordia when put into full daylight, provided the transfer happened before July. Trees adapted to full daylight developed leaf primordia which remained structurally sun-leaf primordia when the plant was kept under shade conditions. Shadeleaf branches of young beech trees cut in February in order to expose the shade buds to full daylight developed either shade leaves or intermediate shade/sun leaves. These experiments show that the subtending leaf may provide the developing axillary bud with photoassimilates, but its character, whether sun or shade leaf, has no influence on the character of the developing leaf primordia.

Key words

Differentiation Leaf primordia Fagus sylvatica Sun shade leaves