Association of red coloration with senescence of sugar maple leaves in autumn
Source: Trees, Volume 22, Number 4, August 2008 , pp. 573-578(6)
Abstract:We evaluated the association of red coloration with senescence in sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) leaves by assessing differences in leaf retention strength and the progression of the abscission layer through the vascular bundle of green, yellow, and red leaves of 14 mature open-grown trees in October 2002. Computer image analysis confirmed visual categorization of leaves as predominantly green, yellow or red, and chemical quantification of leaf pigment concentrations verified that leaf color reflected underlying differences in leaf biochemistry. Significantly lower chlorophyll concentrations within red and yellow leaves indicated that senescence was more advanced in leaves from these color categories relative to green leaves. Among leaf types, only red leaves contained high concentrations of anthocyanins. There were significant differences in leaf retention capacity among color categories, with the petioles of green leaves being the most firmly attached to twigs, followed by red and then yellow leaves. Microscopic analysis indicated that yellow leaves had the most advanced extension of the abscission layer through the vasculature, with green and red leaves having significantly less abscission layer progression than yellow. A more limited progression of the abscission layer through vascular bundles may be evidence of delayed leaf senescence that could extend resorption of mobile leaf constituents. Together, results from this study suggest an association between leaf anthocyanin content and functional delays in senescence.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Forest Service, US Department of Agriculture, Northern Research Station, 705 Spear Street, South Bington, VT, 05403, USA, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 2: Forest Service, US Department of Agriculture, Northern Research Station, 705 Spear Street, South Bington, VT, 05403, USA 3: The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, The University of Vermont, 81 Carrigan Drive, Bington, VT, 05405, USA
Publication date: 2008-08-01