Biologia Plantarum

, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 799–800 | Cite as

Are red leaves photosynthetically active?

Brief Communication


At irradiances close to those representing a sunny day, red and green leaves of poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) showed only minor differences in their photosynthetic capacities despite the strong differences in their pigment composition. However, contrarily to green leaves, red leaves did not show inhibition of photosynthesis at high irradiances, because anthocyanins protected chloroplasts from photoinhibition.

Additional key words

anthocyanins chlorophyll fluorescence Euphorbia photochemical and non-photochemical quenching photosystem 2 poinsettia 





electron transport rate


photosynthetically active radiation

PS 2

photosystem 2


nonphotochemical quenching


photochemical quencing


quantum yield of PS 2 photochemistry


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Copyright information

© Institute of Experimental Botany, ASCR 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro de Investigaciones Agrarias de MabegondoLa CoruñaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Plant Biology (Plant Physiology)University of MurciaMurciaSpain

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