LEAF MICRO-ENVIRONMENT INFLUENCES THE ALTERED FOLIAR PHENOTYPE OF COLUMNAR APPLE (MALUS × DOMESTICA BORKH.) TREES
Columnar apple trees (CATs) have radically-altered architecture (significantly shorter internodes and lateral branches) when compared to standard apple trees, attributed to a mutation of the Co gene involved in apical dominance. These changes in architecture have been associated with changes in the phenotype of the leaves in the leaf clusters that subtend the fruits of CATs, compared to their standard counterparts. This initial investigation considers standard and columnar trees at different levels of genetic relatedness and records significant increases in leaf area, leaf mass per unit area, chlorophyll content and competitive shading in the fruiting leaf clusters of columnar cultivars. Additionally, significant increases in intercepted light have been shown to be associated with the columnar structure, and carbon fixation is also increased. We propose that leaf micro-environment of columnar cultivars is altered in terms of incident light by their open architecture and this influences the growth and development of the leaves in the fruiting leaf clusters. Interaction with their modified genetic condition produces a foliar phenotype characteristic of CATs.
Talwara, S., Grout, B.W.W. and Toldam-Andersen, T.B. (2015). LEAF MICRO-ENVIRONMENT INFLUENCES THE ALTERED FOLIAR PHENOTYPE OF COLUMNAR APPLE (MALUS × DOMESTICA BORKH.) TREES. Acta Hortic. 1099, 835-841
Malus × domestica Borkh., columnar trees, altered leaf phenotype, leaf micro-environment, carbon fixation