Comparisons of photosynthetic rates were made on leaves of ten species of woody dicotyledons grown in the field under full sun or under a canopy which transmitted approximately 18% of full light. Photosynthesis and dark respiration were measured and compared on various bases: area, chlorophyll, fresh weight of lamina, density thickness (fresh weight per unit area), and protein. Light-saturated photosynthesis per unit area or unit chlorophyll was about 1.5 times greater in the sun leaves than in the shade leaves and essentially equal per unit fresh weight or unit protein. Sun leaves were thicker but the enzymes per unit fresh weight remained constant as thickness varied. Chlorophyll per unit area remained about constant; chlorophyll per unit fresh weight varied inversely with changes in leaf thickness. Thus, density thickness variation is important in photosynthetic adaptation to sun and shade. This is also shown by the relationship between light-saturated photosynthesis per unit area and density thickness.
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