Nondestructive estimation of leaf area for 15 species of vines with different leaf shapes

Xiaojing Yu, Peijian Shi*, Julian Schrader, Karl J. Niklas*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    46 Citations (Scopus)


    Premise: The nondestructive measurement of leaf area is important for expediting data acquisition in the field. The Montgomery equation (ME) assumes that leaf area (A) is a proportional function of the product of leaf length (L) and width (W), i.e., A = cLW, where c is called the Montgomery parameter. The ME has been successfully applied to calculate the surface area of many broad-leaved species with simple leaf shapes. However, whether this equation is valid for more complex leaf shapes has not been verified. 

    Methods: Leaf A, L, and W were measured directly for each of 5601 leaves of 15 vine species, and ME and three other models were used to fit the data. All four models were compared based on their root mean square errors (RMSEs) to determine whether ME provided the best fit. 

    Results: The ME was a reliable method for estimating the A of all 15 species. In addition, the numerical values of 13 of the 15 values of c fell within a previously predicted numerical range (i.e., between 1/2 and π/4). The data show that the numerical values of c are largely affected by the value of W/L, the concavity of the leaf base, and the number of lobes on the lamina. 

    Conclusions: The Montgomery parameter can reflect the influence of leaf shape on leaf-area calculations and can serve as an important tool for nondestructive measurements of leaf area for many broad-leaved species and for the investigation of leaf morphology.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1481-1490
    Number of pages10
    JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
    Issue number11
    Early online date9 Nov 2020
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


    • leaf base
    • leaf length
    • leaf shape
    • leaf width
    • Montgomery equation


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