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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X


DAMASCOS, MARÍA ANGÉLICA  and  PRADO, CARLOS HENRIQUE B.A.. Leaf phenology and its associated traits in the wintergreen species Aristotelia chilensis (Mol.) Stuntz (Elaeocarpaceae). Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2001, vol.74, n.4, pp.805-815. ISSN 0716-078X.

The post-summer leaf demography of the wintergreen species Aristotelia chilensis growing near San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina, is described. Its specific leaf mass (SLM, g m-2) is compared to that of the deciduous and evergreen species of the Andean-Patagonian forests and to that of other communities abroad. The pattern of leaf emergence is intermediate, with leaf flush in spring (basal cohort, BC), followed by successive unfolding of the remaining leaves (distal cohort, DC) during summer. The senescence of the BC occurs mainly in autumn, with a loss of 11-31 % of its SLM. The DC falls synchronously in mid-spring and the SLM loss in winter is 10-13 %. The SLM of A. chilensis (103.6 ± 6.2 g m-2) is intermediate when compared to the general mean values of deciduous (73.7 ± 15.9 g m-2) and evergreen species (154.8 ± 45.8 g m-2). The SLM of deciduous and evergreen species of three different forests near San Carlos de Bariloche varied significantly at the end of the growing season while that of A. chilensis showed more constant values. The periodicity of leaf production and senescence in A. chilensis allows the maintenance of one leaf cohort throughout the year, covering the carbon demand for flowering and leaf production in spring. This differentiates the deciduous from the wintergreen species, despite their similar mean leaf life span values, while the evergreen species have a longer leaf turnover. Considering the conditions for growth in each studied forest, the leaf life span was not the only factor determining the SLM value. This variable would also depend on multiple stresses that may act during the ontogenesis and evolution of the leaves in each phenological group

Keywords : deciduousness; leaf life span; specific leaf mass; temperate forest; wintergreen species.

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