, 46:262 | Cite as

Seasonal photosynthetic changes in the green-stemmed Mediterranean shrub Calicotome villosa: a comparison with leaves

  • C. Yiotis
  • G. K. Psaras
  • Y. Manetas
Original Papers


Some photosynthetic attributes of leaves and stems were seasonally followed in the small-leaved, summer-deciduous, green-stemmed Mediterranean shrub Calicotome villosa. Both leaves and stems displayed similar photon energy-saturated photosystem 2 (PS2) efficiencies with a minimum during winter. A second minimum in stems during the leafless summer period could be ascribed to sustained photoinhibition. Yet, stems were slightly inferior in photon capture, resulting partly from lower chlorophyll (Chl) contents and partly from higher reflectance due to pubescence. As a result, photon energy-saturated linear electron transport rates were slightly higher in leaves. However, when the total leaf and stem areas were taken into account, this superiority was abolished during autumn and winter and more than overturned during spring. Given that during summer the stems were the only photosynthetic organs, the yearly photosynthetic contribution of stems was much higher. Chl contents in stems displayed a transient and considerable summer drop, accompanied by an increase in the carotenoid to Chl ratio, indicating a photo-protective adaptation to summer drought through a decrease of photo-selective capacity, typical for leaves of many Mediterranean plants.

Additional key words

carotenoids chlorophyll drought stress electron transport rates photoinhibition photosystem 2 efficiency spiny broom 


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Copyright information

© Institute of Experimental Botany, ASCR, Praha 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section of Plant Biology, Department of BiologyUniversity of PatrasPatrasGreece

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