Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 129, Issue 4, pp 625–635 | Cite as

Ecological distribution of leaf stomata and trichomes among tree species in a Malaysian lowland tropical rain forest

  • Tomoaki Ichie
  • Yuta Inoue
  • Narumi Takahashi
  • Koichi Kamiya
  • Tanaka Kenzo
Regular Paper


The vertical structure of a tropical rain forest is complex and multilayered, with strong variation of micro-environment with height up to the canopy. We investigated the relation between morphological traits of leaf surfaces and tree ecological characteristics in a Malaysian tropical rain forest. The shapes and densities of stomata and trichomes on the abaxial leaf surfaces and their relation with leaf characteristics such as leaf area and leaf mass per area (LMA) were studied in 136 tree species in 35 families with different growth forms in the tropical moist forest. Leaf physiological properties were also measured in 50 canopy and emergent species. Most tree species had flat type (40.4 %) or mound type (39.7 %) stomata. In addition, 84 species (61.76 %) in 22 families had trichomes, including those with glandular (17.65 %) and non-glandular trichomes (44.11 %). Most leaf characteristics significantly varied among the growth form types: species in canopy and emergent layers and canopy gap conditions had higher stomatal density, stomatal pore index (SPI), trichome density and LMA than species in understory and subcanopy layers, though the relation of phylogenetically independent contrasts to each characteristic was not statistically significant, except for leaf stomatal density, SPI and LMA. Intrinsic water use efficiency in canopy and emergent tree species with higher trichome densities was greater than in species with lower trichome densities. These results suggest that tree species in tropical rain forests adapt to a spatial difference in their growth forms, which are considerably affected by phylogenetic context, by having different stomatal and trichome shapes and/or densities.


Growth form type Intrinsic water use efficiency Phylogenetic constraints Stomatal elevation Trichome Tropical rain forest 



We thank the Forest Department, Sarawak, and Sarawak Forestry Corporation, and also Prof. T. Nakashizuka, Prof. N. Yamamura, Prof. S. Fujiwara, Dr. Y. Watanabe, Dr. M. Aiba and Ms. Y. Kuzume for their kind support of this study. Climate data was provided by Dr. T. Kume. Dr. H. Nagamasu and Dr. K. Momose identified tree species in the plots. This research was partly supported by a Project of the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (P2-5, D-04): a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (Nos. 23255002, 24405032) from the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, Japan: the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (RF-1010, S-9) of the Ministry of the Environment, Japan.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 74 kb)
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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tomoaki Ichie
    • 1
  • Yuta Inoue
    • 2
  • Narumi Takahashi
    • 1
  • Koichi Kamiya
    • 3
  • Tanaka Kenzo
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of AgricultureKochi UniversityNankokuJapan
  2. 2.The United Graduate School of Agricultural SciencesEhime UniversityMatsuyamaJapan
  3. 3.Faculty of AgricultureEhime UniversityMatsuyamaJapan
  4. 4.Forestry and Forest Products Research InstituteTsukubaJapan

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