Talwara, Susheela3; Grout, Brian William Wilson4; Toldam-Andersen, Torben Bo4
1 Section for Crop Sciences, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet2 Department of Agriculture & Ecology, Crop Science, Department of Agriculture & Ecology, Faculty of Life Sciences, Københavns Universitet3 Department of Agriculture & Ecology, Crop Science, Department of Agriculture & Ecology, Faculty of Life Sciences, Københavns Universitet4 Section for Crop Sciences, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet
A quantitative study has been made of the modifications to leaf morphology and anatomy evident in columnar apples trees when compared to standard ones, using the original cultivar and the first columnar mutant derived from it, as well as other closely and more distantly related cultivars. Significant increases in leaf number, area, weight per unit area, thickness and midrib angle, together with altered shape, have been recorded consistently for the leaves subtending the developing fruits of the columnar cultivars. Additionally, significant increases in leaf rolling, epicuticular wax, stomatal size and density and leaf chlorophyll content were recorded. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that columnar cultivars develop an additional layer of well-developed palisade mesophyll and a greater depth of spongy mesophyll when compared to their standard counterparts. This large-scale modification of leaf characteristics is considered in terms of the very open architectural phenotype of columnar trees and the impact this may have on the canopy microclimate that influences leaf development.