Key words Evergreen
Light and temperature response
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Seasonal differences in photosynthesis and stomatal conductance of four herbaceous perennials from beneath a deciduous canopy was assessed at two light levels (60 and 400 μmol m−2 s−1 photosynthetic photon flux density, PPFD) and two leaf temperatures (7 and 20°C). Leaves of an evergreen, Pyrola asarifolia Michx., a wintergreen, Cornus canadensis L., and two summergreen species, Rubus pubescens Raf. and Aralia nudicaulis L., were collected at four times during the growing season. In addition, midsummer light response curves were obtained for one summergreen (A. nudicaulis) and one evergreen species (P. asarifolia) at both 7 and 20°C. Gas exchange measurements were made in the laboratory under controlled environmental conditions. For leaves collected in April, when insolation was high due to the leafless overstory, only P. asarifolia had green leaves, and there was no effect of temperature or light on this species' photosynthesis. P. asarifolia's net assimilation rate (NA) in April was about 30% of it's maximum in late summer. In early summer (June), A. nudicaulis and R. pubescens had higher NA at the higher temperature; at this time, these summergreen species also reached their maximum NA. Midsummer photosynthetic light response curves showed that the light-saturation point was higher and more responsive to leaf temperature in the summergreen A. nudicaulis than in the evergreen P. asarifolia. The summergreen species appear to have a photosystem which performs at high rates during early- and mid-summer, as well as a taller stature which allows them to intercept more light. The photosynthetic system of the ever/wintergreen species is adapted to the low ground-level light conditions in the summer and there does not appear to be an adjustment to take further advantage of the higher light in the spring and fall period. The adaptation of the evergreen and wintergreen understory species is tolerance to low temperatures, enabling them to photosynthesize into the fall till the first continuous frosts occur in the understory and also permitting the evergreen species to begin photosynthesis early in the spring.
Type of Medium: