How Do Changes in Leaf/Shoot Morphology and Crown Architecture Affect Growth and Physiological Function of Tall Trees?

  • Hiroaki Ishii
Part of the Tree Physiology book series (TREE, volume 4)


With increasing height within the crowns of tall trees, leaves tend to become smaller and thicker and shoots shorter. In tall trees, the vertical variation in leaf/shoot morphology is largely driven by water status. Morphological changes associated with increasing height in the crown present static constraints on photosynthesis, such as decreasing light intercepting area relative to leaf mass and decreasing CO2 diffusion rate inside the leaf. Despite high light availability, leaf-area-based photosynthetic rates at the tops of tall trees tend to be low and this may limit height growth. However, the observed changes in leaf/shoot morphology as well as xylem/leaf anatomy, and crown architecture may compensate for various physiological constraints associated with increasing tree height. Continuous renewal of branches and foliage through epicormic shoot production and the change from hierarchic to polyarchic crown architecture may allow large trees to maintain physiological function and continue to grow.


Photosynthetic Rate Tall Tree Shade Leave Maintenance Respiration Maximum Photosynthetic Rate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I thank Dr. S.C. Sillett for constructive comments on earlier versions of this chapter.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant Science, Graduate School of Agricultural ScienceKobe UniversityKobeJapan

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