, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 380-388
Date: 12 Sep 2011

A simple model for nondestructive leaf area estimation in bedding plants

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Measurement of leaf area is commonly used in many horticultural research experiments, but it is generally destructive, requiring leaves to be removed for measurement. Determining the individual leaf area (LA) of bedding plants like pot marigold (Calendula officinalis L.), dahlia (Dahlia pinnata), sweet William (Dianthus barbatus L.), geranium (Pelargonium × hortorum), petunia (Petunia × hybrida), and pansy (Viola wittrockiana) involves measurements of leaf parameters such as length (L) and width (W) or some combinations of these parameters. Two experiments were carried out during spring 2010 (on two pot marigold, four dahlia, three sweet William, four geranium, three petunia, and three pansy cultivars) and summer 2010 (on one cultivar per species) under greenhouse conditions to test whether a model could be developed to estimate LA of bedding plants across cultivars. Regression analysis of LA versus L and W revealed several models that could be used for estimating the area of individual bedding plants leaves. A linear model having LW as the independent variable provided the most accurate estimate (highest R 2, smallest mean square error, and the smallest predicted residual error sum of squares) of LA in all bedding plants. Validation of the model having LW of leaves measured in the summer 2010 experiment coming from other cultivars of bedding plants showed that the correlation between calculated and measured bedding plants leaf areas was very high. Therefore, these allometric models could be considered simple and useful tools in many experimental comparisons without the use of any expensive instruments.