Modern Phytomorphology

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Age-related changes in anatomical and morphological leaf traits of Wollemia nobilis

Abstract

O. Vasheka, A. Spoletini, R. Catoni, M. Pepe, L. Gratani

The results highlight significant variations of Wollemia nobilis leaf traits which reflect age-related changes of the subsequent growth units along the branches. Age-related changes appear in a gradual increase of leaf size from young leaves to old leaves. The LMA increasing from 13.75 g/cm2 in current year leaves to 24.84 g/cm2 in 7 year leaves is associated with an increment of the number of lignified elements (vascular tissues, astrosclereids), of hypodermal and epidermal-cuticle structures (cuticle, wax layer) and of oil bodies abundance, which may increase resistance to stress factors. These characteristics highlight that W. nobilis leaves can adapt to variable environmental conditions with a return rate on a larger time-scale since leaves on a branch stay alive for a long time until the branch dies.

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