Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2012, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (1): 88-98.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1258.2012.00088

• Review • Previous Articles    

A review of leaf morphology plasticity linked to plant response and adaptation characteristics in arid ecosystems

LI Yong-Hua1,2, LU Qi1,2*, WU Bo1,2, ZHU Ya-Juan1,2, LIU Dian-Jun1,2, ZHANG Jin-Xin1,2, and JIN Zhan-Hu1,2   

  1. 1Institute of Desertification Studies, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China;

    2Chinese Research and Development Center for Combating Desertification , Beijing 100091, China
  • Received:2011-05-12 Revised:2011-10-31 Online:2012-01-05 Published:2012-01-01
  • Contact: LU Qi


Leaf morphology is closely related to the specific environment and provides the most useful characteristics to understand plant response and adaptation strategy to environmental change. Leaf morphology plasticity is obviously related to the temporal and spatial variation of environmental variables, which are useful to plants to enhance their ability to survive. Consequently, for many years, studies on plant physiology, plant ecology and physiological ecology focused on leaf morphology. We establish a simple category of leaf morphology classification. Simultaneously, based on the principle of material and energy balances, we systematically review the relationships among environment, leaf morphology and energy balances (or material changes), and emphasize that leaf morphology responded or adapted to lower water availability and higher radiation (or temperature) in arid ecosystems. In conclusion, we submit and discuss existing problems in leaf morphology based on the weaknesses of previous studies.

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