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    Author(s): Jack T. Tessier
    Date: 2004
    Source: American Journal of Botany. 91(9): 1371-1377.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Northern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (378.0 KB)


    Leaf habit correlates with multiple physiological traits. Understanding ecophysiology is therefore dependent on knowledge of leaf habit. A variety of leaf habits exists within forest understory plant communities. Oxalis acetosella is one such understory plant and has long been considered a wintergreen, meaning that it keeps a set of leaves for one full year, replacing them with a new set during spring. To assess the leaf habit of 0. acetosella and place it into a classification scheme of leaf habits, leaves of four populations of 0. acetosella were repeatedly censused for two years in a northern hardwood forest of the Catskill Mountains, New York, USA. New leaves developed and old leaves senesced throughout the year, yielding a continual replacement of leaves and a summer peak in leaf number. Leaves that developed in the fall and winter had longer maximum life spans than leaves that developed during the summer. The name "seasonalgreen" is suggested to describe the continual development, senescence, and presence of leaves and annual peak in leaf number within 0. acetosella. The functional significance of this leaf habit in this species and the possibility of its presence in other species deserve further study.

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    Tessier, Jack T. 2004. Leaf longevity of 0xalis acetosella (0xalidaceae) in the Catskill Mountains, New York, USA. American Journal of Botany. 91(9): 1371-1377.


    Catskill Mountains, common wood sorrel, leaf habit, leaf longevity, northern hardwood forest, Oxalis acetosella, understory, wintergreen

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