Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2023, Vol. 47 ›› Issue (11): 1540-1550.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2022.0460

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Comparison of leaf cost-benefit relationship for five pinnate compound-leaf tree species in temperate forests of northeast China

LIU Yan-Jie1, LIU Yu-Long2, WANG Chuan-Kuan1, WANG Xing-Chang1,*()   

  1. 1Center for Ecological Research, Key Laboratory of Sustainable Forestry Ecosystem Management-Ministry of Education, Northeast Forestry University, Harbin 150040, China
    2Heilongjiang Ecological Institute, Harbin 150040, China
  • Received:2022-11-14 Accepted:2023-05-10 Online:2023-11-20 Published:2023-06-25
  • Contact: WANG Xing-Chang(
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(32171765)


Aims Explore the allometry between lamina and rachis and clarify the leaf cost-benefit relationship of pinnate compound-leaf temperate tree species.

Methods In the Maoershan Forest Ecosystem Research Station, Heilongjiang Province, the lamina and rachis traits were measured for five pinnate compound-leaf species (Fraxinus mandshurica, Juglans mandshurica, Phellodendron amurense, Maackia amurensisand Aralia elata), and the allometry between lamina and rachis was developed by using the standardized major axis regression.

Important findings There was a significant allometric scaling between lamina area and rachis mass, and the slope was closer to the theoretical value of 3/4 of the West, Brown and Enquist (WBE) model than to the theoretical value of 2/3 of the geometric similarity model. However, there was an isometric relationship between lamina mass and rachis mass in most cases. There were significant allometric relationships between compound-leaf area and rachis length and between lamina mass and rachis length, and the common slopes for all the species were 1.853 and 2.322, respectively. There was a significant allometry between rachis mass and rachis length, with all the allometric exponents being greater than 2, indicating that the increasing rate of spatial expansion benefit achieved by the rachis lengthening was lower than the increasing rate of lamina mass cost. Significant allometric scaling between lamina area and lamina mass and between lamina area and compound-leaf mass indicated a trend of diminishing returns in compound-leaves. The bipinnate compound-leaves of A. elata had a higher carbon return to investment ratio than the pinnate ones of the other species. In summary, the significant allometric scaling between lamina and rachis of the pinnate compound-leaf species suggests rachis elongation helps light acquisition, but the increase in investment cost caused by the rachis elongation limits the expansion of the compound leaf area.

Key words: compound leaf, biomass allocation, leaf size, rachis, allometry