Influence of Water Relations and Temperature on Leaf Movements of Rhododendron Species 1


Rhododendron maximum L. and R. Catawbiense L. are subcanopy evergreen shrubs of the eastern United States deciduous forest. Field measurements of climate factors and leaf movements of these species indicated a high correlation between leaf temperature and leaf curling; and between leaf water potential and leaf angle. Laboratory experiments were performed to isolate the influence of temperature and cellular water relations on leaf movements. Significant differences were found between the patterns of temperature induction of leaf curling in the two species. Leaves of the species which curled at higher temperatures (R. catawbiense) also froze at higher leaf temperatures. However, in both cases leaf curling occurred at leaf temperatures two to three degrees above the leaf freezing point. Pressure volume curves indicated that cellular turgor loss was associated with a maximum of 45% curling while 100% or more curling occurred in field leaves which still had positive cell turgor. Moisture release curves indicated that 70% curling requires a loss of greater than 60% of symplastic water which corresponds to leaf water potentials far below those experienced in field situations. Conversely, most laboratory induced changes in leaf angle could be related to leaf cell turgor loss.

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