Prolonged leaf senescence in Clusiamultiflora H.B.K.
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- Olivares, E. Trees (1997) 11: 370. doi:10.1007/PL00009681
Leaf aging and senescence in Clusia multiflora H.B.K. was investigated by artificial treatments, such as floating leaf discs on water in darkness, or darkening leaves attached to the parent plant in situ in trees living in a tropical cloud forest. In both cases several parameters modified by age were evaluated such as nitrogen levels, chlorophyll content, succulence and carbohydrates levels. A prolonged senescence (nearly 3 months in floating leaf discs) was observed, contrasting with species such as Heliocarpus americanus (5 days) and Cecropia palmatisecta (20 days), characterized by low values of leaf weight per area, but similar to species with high leaf weight per area and with high levels of organic acids such as Clusia minor and Fourcroya humboldtiana, where acids may act as a reserve of C and energy. After 30 days in darkness C. multiflora leaf samples collected in the field did not show differences in comparison to non-darkened opposite leaves with respect to chlorophyll, titratable protons and carbohydrates, and leaves performed photosynthesis after 2 months in darkness. The effect of age in leaves was evaluated in a gradient of leaves, sampled at different positions from the apex and ranging in age from 15 days to 2 years old. The study of senescence in tropical wild plants is uncommon, but it is important knowledge for understanding foliar development, and response to internal rather than environmental regulation in climates where seasons are not strongly marked as is the case in the tropical mountain forest, where C. multiflora constitutes an important component in the early successional vegetation.