Heterophylly


Also found in: Dictionary.

Heterophylly

 

the presence of differently shaped leaves on the same shoot or on different shoots of the same plant. Heterophylly occurs in many aquatic plants (for example, arrowhead, water crowfoot, water starwort, and some species of pondweed), in which the underwater leaves often differ sharply in form from those growing above the water.

In aquatic plants, heterophylly has an adaptive significance; the more finely divided underwater leaves are better able to absorb the carbon dioxide dissolved in the water. Heterophylly also occurs in land plants (for instance, in mulberry, some species of eucalyptus, and ivy) and is linked with developmental changes. (For example, in mulberry the leaves of the young shoots of non-fruit-bearing trees are often divided into lobes, while the leaves of older shoots are broad ovals or ovate.) Heterophylly in land plants is also associated with varying functions. In the epiphytic tropical fern Platycerium the first leaves are cup-shaped. When rotting leaves and branches fall into these cups, a layer of soil is formed and the air roots settle in. Subsequently formed leaves are long and serve to assimilate nutrients.

References in periodicals archive ?
Further heterophylly (defined here as the abrupt changes between leaves within the same shoot) occurs along short shoots of Berberis and Mahonia, as shown with the profound changes between the cataphylls and the foliage leaves in both taxa.
The metamorphic heteroblasty and concurrent heterophylly here documented in Berberis s.
Eco-physiological variables, such as light, humidity, fire, grazing, nutrients, temperature, irradiance, photoperiod, among others have been directly or indirectly related as causal factors for heteroblasty and heterophylly (Allsopp, 1965; Lee & Richards, 1991; Winn, 1999; Zotz et al.
Heterophylly might play a critical role for plant fitness (De Witt et al.
This metamorphic heteroblasty is accompanied by heterophylly along the short shoots.
Environmental factors are unlikely to be responsible for either the metamorphic heteroblasty or the heterophylly in Berberis s.
Thus, occurrence of metamorphic heteroblasty, heterophylly and (possibly) heterochrony in Berberis s.
Heterophylly in Populus grandidentata (Salicaceae) with emphasis on resin glands and extrafloral nectarines.
Physiological and morphological differences in the heterophylly of Sabina vulgaris Ant.
Heterophylly in Ranunculus flabellaris--the effect of abscisic acid on leaf ultrastructure.
Heterophylly is sometimes defined extremely broadly as "variation in the size and shape of leaves produced along the axis of an individual plant" (Winn, 1999).
On heterophylly in water plants American Naturalist 53: 272-278.