Leaf shape influences spatial variation in photosynthetic function in Lomatia tinctoria

Andrea Leigh*, Ross Hill, Marilyn C. Ball

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


A relationship exists between the two-dimensional shape of leaves and their venation architecture, such that broad or broad-lobed leaves can have leaf tissue far from major veins, potentially creating stronger gradients in water potential - and associated photosynthetic function - than found across narrow counterparts. We examined the spatial patterns of photosynthetic efficiency (ΔF/Fm′) and non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) in response to increased vapour pressure deficit (VPD) using two morphs of Lomatia tinctoria (Labill.) R.Br: those with broad-lobed and those with narrow-lobed leaves. Stomatal conductance (gs), instantaneous water use efficiency (WUE), stomatal and minor veins density also were measured. ΔF/Fm′ decreased with stress but was higher and less spatially heterogeneous across broad than narrow lobes. The strongest depression in ΔF/Fm′ in broad lobes was at the edges and in narrow lobes, the tips. Non-photochemical quenching was spatially more varied in broad lobes, increasing at the edges and tips. Variation in photosynthetic function could not be explained by gs, WUE or minor vein density, whereas proximity to major veins appeared to mitigate water stress at the tips only for broad lobes. Our findings indicate that the relationship between venation architecture and water delivery alone can partially explain the spatial pattern of photosynthetic function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)833-842
Number of pages10
JournalFunctional Plant Biology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • chlorophyll fluorescence
  • leaf morphology
  • leaf shape
  • leaf venation
  • photoprotection
  • water stress.

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