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Spectral transmission and the aerial profile in mature stands of mercurialis perennis

, : Spectral transmission and the aerial profile in mature stands of mercurialis perennis. Annals of Botany (London) 40(170): 1207-1216

The passage of light through mature stands of the woodland perennial herb M. perennis L. is investigated. Less than 3% of each of 7 discrete wavelengths in the visible waveband reach the herb layer in the sites considered. Percentage transmission of the 750 nm wavelength was far greater, and the proportion of this light passing deep into the herb profile increased as total light transmission decreased. Mean specific leaf area of M. perennis is negatively correlated with shoot height and weight. Leaf area/shoot increases exponentially with shoot height, but linearly with shoot weight. Shoot leaf weight ratio remains virtually constant over a range of shoot sizes, but shoot leaf area ratio is negatively correlated with shoot height and shoot weight. Most leaf pairs are borne between 10-30 cm above ground level and 71% of the total leaf area occurs between 15-30 cm above ground. Average leaf area/leaf pair increases from the lowest layers in the profile upwards except for the highest strata where many leaves are not fully expanded. Chlorophyll content of leaves, expressed on either a weight or an area basis, increases from the bottom to the top of the herb profile; the ratio of chlorophyll a:b does not alter through the stand.

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