, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 341-345

Relationship between hydraulic resistance and leaf morphology in broadleaf Quercus species: a new interpretation of leaf lobation

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We investigated the relationship between leaf shape and leaf hydraulic resistance in a set of broadleaf Quercus tree species (Q. cerris, Q. frainetto, Q. petraea, Q. pyrenaica, Q. robur, Q. rubra, Q. velutina). Seedlings of all the studied species were grown under uniform environmental conditions. A new high-pressure flowmeter was designed to measure leaf-blade hydraulic resistance. Leaf shape was characterised by the complexity of leaf outline which was regarded as an estimate of leaf lobation. This was done using the box-counting fractal dimension of the leaf silhouette. Leaf hydraulic resistance was negatively related to leaf lobation. It is suggested that the lower hydraulic resistance in deeply lobed leaves may constitute a mechanism for improving water balance under dry atmospheric conditions.

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