Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
Summary Individual 33-year-old forest trees of the deciduous conifer speciesLarix decidua, Larix leptolepis andLarix decidua x leptolepis were investigated with respect to the phenomenon of stem heterosis in hybrid larch; the first part of this study compares the gas exchange responses of leaves. CO2 assimilation per leaf area was similar in the three larch species, but on a dry weight basis the nitrogen content of the needles and maximum CO2 assimilation rate (Amax) were slightly higher in the hybrid. This increase was accompanied by a higher protein content than in the Japanese and a lower specific leaf weight than in the European larch. All three species were similar in terms of the photosynthetic “nitrogen use” and stomatal conductance atA max. The similar slopes of the area-related steady-state responses of gas exchange against irradiance, evaporative demand and internal CO2 concentration led to similar rates of CO2 uptake under ambient conditions. The natural combinations and variability of the environmental factors also reduced the small dry weight-related difference inA max between hybrid larch and the parent species, such that all trees achieved similar daily carbon gains. Thus, the ecological significance of small interspecific differences in the metabolism of leaves has very little effect under the natural habitat conditions of a temperate climate. The second part of the study will investigate the effect of growth characteristics on the heterosis of hybrid larch.
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