Taylor, G., & Davies, W. J. (1985). The Control Of Leaf Growth Of Betula And Acer By Photoenvironment. New Phytol, 101(2), 259–268.
Abstract: Leaf extension of one‐year‐old seedlings of silver birch (Betula pendula Roth.) and sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus L.), was measured using linear variable transducers (LVDTs) interfaced to a microcomputer. Birch and sycamore seedlings exhibited contrasting patterns of leaf extension during a diurnal cycle with a 16 h photoperiod. Birch leaves grew more rapidly when illuminated; growth during the photoperiod was approximately doubled when compared with growth in the dark. Mean relative growth rates ±SE at ‘lights‐on + 3 h’ and ‘lights‐off + 5 h’ were 0.0136 ± 0.0016 and 0.0066 ± 0.0005 h−1 respectively. In direct contrast, growth of sycamore leaves was increased when leaves were darkened; mean relative growth rates + SE at ‘lights‐on+3 h’ and ‘lights‐off + 5 h’ were 0.0056 ± 0.0005 and 0.0094 ± 0.0008 h‐1 respectively.
When leaves of birch and sycamore were darkened, increased leaf turgor was measured in both species, but only in sycamore was this higher night‐time turgor associated with a higher rate of leaf growth.
Cell wall extensibility (WEX), an indication of the ability of cell walls to loosen and extend irreversibly, and cell surface pH were assessed in darkened and illuminated leaves of both species. An increase in WEX was measured when birch leaves were illuminated (P≤ 0.001) and this was accompanied by a decline in cell surface pH (P≤ 0.001). However, when leaves of sycamore were illuminated, WEX declined (P≤ 005) and cell surface pH increased (P≤ 0.001).
The ability of these species to survive beneath a woodland canopy is discussed in relation to the cellular factors controlling their leaf growth.