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Method for Measuring the Leaf Surface Area of Complex Shoots


A KNOWLEDGE of leaf surface area is essential for many plant physiological and ecological studies1–5. Conventional measurements based on leaf dimensions are invariably laborious and often only approximate. Other methods aimed at increasing the speed and accuracy of the measurements, such as photoelectric techniques6,7, are only really applicable to broad leaved species. For microphyllous and needle leaved species the only reliable method so far has been to calculate the surface areas of selected leaf samples from measurements of length and circumference, then to extrapolate the values to whole shoots on the basis of leaf numbers or fresh weights5,8. Doronichev9 has attempted to simplify the measurements for conifer shoots by determining the adsorption of rnethylene blue from aqueous solutions on the assumption that a monomolecular layer is formed on the surface and that each mg methylene blue adsorbed corresponds to a surface area of 1.05 m2. For most plant shoots, however, the change in methylene blue concentration is far too small to be accurately measured using standard photo-densitometers.

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    Higgins, J. J., Hann, J. R., and Koch, E. J., Agron. J., 489 (1964).

  2. 2

    Pearce, R. B., Brown, R. H., and Blaser, R. E., Crop Sci., 5, 553 (1965).

  3. 3

    Welbank, P. J., French, S. A. W., and Ouitts, K. J., Ann. Bot., 30, 291 (1966).

  4. 4

    Waggoner, P. E., Furnival, G. M., and Reifsnyder, W. E., Forest Sci., 15, 37 (1969).

  5. 5

    Landsberg, J. J., and Ludlow, M. M., J. Appl. Ecol., 7, 187 (1970).

  6. 6

    Moelker, W. H., Plant Soil, 25, 305 (1966).

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    Murata, Y., and Hyashi, K., Proc. Crop Sci. Soc. Japan, 36, 463 (1967).

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    Madgwick, H. A. I., J. Foren., 62, 636 (1964).

  9. 9

    Doronichev, N. I., Lesoved, 5, 93 (1969).

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