Morphology and Anatomy of Leaves

  • Danielle WaldhoffEmail author
  • Pia Parolin
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 210)


Leaves are among the most important organs of a plant, and they are ­indicators of the condition of a tree. Their morphology and anatomy shows adaptations and their functional traits reflect to some extent the constraints of the environments where the plants typically grow. However, despite the big differences in flooding intensity and nutrient availability, leaves of Amazonian floodplain trees are similar in their morphoanatomy and exhibit traits which are generally considered as xeromorph, just as the leaves of upland species. The xeromorphic leaf structure may represent a pre-adaptation resulting from the dry habitats most tree species originate from. It also helps to cope with insufficient water supply to the tree crowns during the aquatic phase which is caused by a decrease of root ­functioning due to ­waterlogging and submergence. The assimilation organs perform perfectly well despite the long periods of waterlogging or complete submergence in darkness. Leaf structure does not reflect the extreme environmental conditions to which trees in Amazonian floodplains are subjected. No patterns could be detected of a relationship of leaf functional traits with flooding intensity and nutrient availability.


Stomatal Density Leaf Water Content Palisade Parenchyma Spongy Parenchyma Leaf Lifespan 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for LimnologyPlönGermany
  2. 2.Flottbek Systematik der PflanzenUniversity of Hamburg, Biozentrum KleinHamburgGermany

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