Leaves are the principal sites of light interaction, gas exchange, and transpiration. They contain the complex structures involved in CO2 fixation as well as other major metabolic processes. Leaves expose a relatively large surface area (2 to 3 m2 m−2 in mediterranean-type ecosystems) to the fluctuations of the physical environment, and therefore it can be expected that analyses of leaf morphology will eludicate the interrelations between leaf structure and the specific characteristics of the mediterranean-climate environment. A summer drought of several months, leaf temperatures that may reach 50°C and drop in winter sometimes below freezing, and low levels of available nutrients are the main factors of the mediterranean-type environment that can be expected to have had an impact on the evolution of leaf structure.

Copyright information

© Dr W. Junk Publishers, The Hague/Boston/London 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Catarino
    • 1
  • J. Kummerow
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of LisboaPortugal
  2. 2.Department of BotanySan Diego State UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations