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Growth and Photosynthetic Responses to a Range of Light Environments in Chinese Tallowtree and Carolina Ash Seedlings

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Potted seedlings of Chinese tallowtree (Sapium sebiferum [L.] Roxb.) and Carolina ash (Fraxinus caroliniana Mill.) were grown in 5%, 20%, 53%, and 100% of full sunlight. Growth and dry mass partitioning at all light levels, differences between leaf photosynthetic systems developed at 20% and 100% light, and crown profiles of net photosynthesis (PN) in 53% of full sunlight were measured. Tallowtree dry mass peaked at 100%, light while ash dry mass peaked at 53% light. Expressed as a proportion of peak dry mass within species, growth of tallowtree exceeded that of ash at all light levels except 53% of full sunlight. In all but 100% light, tallowtree partitioned more dry mass to leaves than did Carolina ash. For plants grown in 100% light, PN was highly variable with low values in some tallowtree and most ash leaves, although highest PN occurred in ash. For plants grown in 20% light, PN was closely related to photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD), and both species had similar PN Values at any given PPFD. For plants in 53% light, maximum PN occurred at the top of the crown in tallowtree and in the middle of the crown in Carolina ash. Tallowtree seedlings are shade tolerant and yet grow rapidly in full sun. For. Sci. 36(4):851-862.
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Keywords: Fraxinus caroliniana; Sapium sebiferum; dry mass partitioning; invading species; shade tolerance

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Associate Ecologist, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802

Publication date: 1990-12-01

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