Leaf Optical Properties of Rainforest Sun and Extreme Shade Plants

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The opticalp ropertieso f the leaves of twelve tropicals un speciesa nd thirteent ropicale xtreme shade species were examinedw ith an integratings pherea ttachedt o a spectroradiometerM. easurements of diffuse reflectance and transmittance allowed calculations of absorptance, 350- 1,100 nm. Althoughs ome shade species absorbedh igherp ercentageso f quantumf lux densities for photosynthesis (400-700 nm, PPFD) than the mean for the sun species, the sun and shade species as groups were not significantly different from each other: 90.2, S.D. 3.6% for shade species and 88.6, S.D. 2.4% for the sun species. The groups of species did not differ in total absorptance of energy 350-1,100 nm. Furthermore, the sun and shade species were identical in theirs hifto f absorptancea t wavelengthsb etween6 50 and 750 nm. The anthocyanicc oloration of the leaf undersurfaceso f two species polymorphicf or this characteristic( Trionela hirsuta and Ischnosciphonp ruinosus)i s correlatedw ith increaseda bsorptancea t the uppere nd of the action spectrum of photosynthesis. Although sun and shade species have similar optical properties, the energy investment (as documented by dry wt per unit area of leaf surface) is much less for the shade species.

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