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Effect of flowering on the photosynthetic capacity of rye grass leaves grown with and without natural shading

, : Effect of flowering on the photosynthetic capacity of rye grass leaves grown with and without natural shading. Annals of Botany (London) 44(2): 197-208

The photosynthetic capacity of newly expanded leaves of vernalized or non-vernalized plants of S24 perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), grown in long or short photoperiods, was measured in 2 experiments. In the 1st, leaves were protected from shading during development, while in the 2nd, the natural shade of neighboring tillers in a sward was allowed. In the 1st experiment there was little effect of vernalization, day length or flowering and leaves in all treatments had photosynthetic rates at 250 W m-2 of between 28 and 32 mg CO2 dm-2 h-1. In the 2nd experiment the photosynthetic rate of successive leaves fell as sward leaf area increased. This downward trend was reversed, however, in flowering tillers in the vernalized long-day treatment, while in the other treatments, which did not flower, photosynthetic capacity continued to fall. It is concluded that the leaves of reproductive tillers have high photosynthetic capacities because stem extension carries them to the top of the canopy where they are well illuminated during expansion.

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