Acta Physiologiae Plantarum

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 553–563 | Cite as

Leaf movement and photosynthetic plasticity of black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) alleviate stress under different light and water conditions

  • Fei Xu
  • Weihua Guo
  • Renqing Wang
  • Weihong Xu
  • Ning Du
  • Yufang Wang
Original Paper


Leaf morphological, physiological and biochemical characteristics of Robinia pseudoacacia L. seedlings were studied under different stress conditions. The plants were subjected to drought and shade stress for one month. Leaf inclination, chlorophyll fluorescence and chlorophyll content were measured at the first day (short-term stress) and at the end of the stress period (long-term stress) and in the recovery period. Leaf inclination was affected mainly by light; a low level of irradiance caused leaves to be arranged horizontally. Diurnal rhythmicity was lost after the long-term stress, but resumed, in part, in the recovery period. Drought stress caused leaves to tilt more obviously and decreased damage to the photosystem. Sun avoiding movement in a single leaf and sun tracking movement in the whole plant coexisted. Significant physiological changes occurred under different conditions of light. Increased energy dissipation and light capture were the main responses to high and low level of irradiance, respectively, and these were reflected by changes of chlorophyll fluorescence and chlorophyll content. Phenotypic plasticity in the leaflet enhanced the protective response to stress. These adaptive mechanisms may explain better survival of R. pseudoacacia seedlings in the understory, especially during the drought periods, and made it to be the preponderant reforestation species in Shandong Province of China.


Black locust Chlorophyll fluorescence Drought Leaf inclination Light acclimation Photosynthetic plasticity 





Electron transport rate

F0 and Fm

Initial and maximal fluorescence in the dark

Fs and Fm′

Steady-state and maximal fluorescence in the light


Maximal quantum yield


Field capacity


Leaf area index


Non-photochemical quenching


Photosynthetically active radiation


Photon flux density


Photosystem ΙΙ


Photochemical quenching


Rapid light curves


Specific leaf area

Yield or ΦPSII

Effective quantum yield



We are grateful to Yuanzu Xu for building the experimental equipment, to Yue Yu and Lei Liu for assistance in the field and laboratory measurements, to Dr. Jian Liu and Hui Wang for their valuable comments and suggestions on the manuscript, and to Asia Science Editing for linguistic advice. This research was supported financially by the Key Project of Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province (No. Z2006D04; Z2007D02), Program for New Century Excellent Talents in the University of China (No. NCET-07-0511) and Shandong Distinguished Middle-aged and Young Scientist Encouraged and Reward Foundation (No. 2006BS08004).


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Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fei Xu
    • 1
  • Weihua Guo
    • 1
  • Renqing Wang
    • 1
  • Weihong Xu
    • 1
  • Ning Du
    • 1
  • Yufang Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity, College of Life SciencesShandong UniversityJinanPeople’s Republic of China

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