The leaf construction cost, i.e., the energy expenditure required for the production of plant biomass (CC, g glucose/g dry biomass), is considered to be a major determinant of species success in various habitats. Nitrogen, carbon, and mineral contents in leaves were used to measure leaf CC. The aboveground biomass was sampled from the most abundant plant species (Poa pratensis L., Lolium perenne L., Festuca valida (Uechtr.) Penzes, Trifolium repens L., Taraxacum officinale Weber ex Wigg, Plantago lanceolata L., and Achillea millefolium L.) during the 1997 growing season in an upland grassland dominated by C3 species. Soil samplings were performed in parallel with leaf samplings in order to determine soil inorganic nitrogen. T. repens leaves had the highest nitrogen concentration; grasses had the highest carbon content, while the highest mineral content was observed in the leaves of the forb species. The highest leaf CC was calculated for the legume T. repens followed by the grass F. valida. The grass L. perenne had the “cheapest” leaves, since it had the lowest CC. A positive correlation between leaf CC and soil inorganic nitrogen was evident for grasses (P. pratensis, L. perenne, F. valida) and P. lanceolata.
Russian Journal of Plant Physiology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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