Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems

Sclerophylly and Foliar Nutrient Status of Mediterranean-Climate Plant Communities in Southern Australia

RL Specht and PW Rundel

Australian Journal of Botany 38(5) 459 - 474
Published: 1990


An increase (percentage dry weight) in both lignin and cellulose (with a greater proportion of cellulose than lignin being formed) is associated with a decrease in the concentration of phosphorus (and of other related elements) per unit dry weight in the leaves of sunlit overstorey species, of both sclerophyll and savannah communities in the mediterranean climate of southern Australia. Simultaneously, crude protein decreases. Leaves become increasingly sclerophyllous (with a higher Sclerophyll Index), with lower crude protein (cytoplasm) per unit dry weight; thicker leaves with lower leaf specific area result.

The degree of sclerophylly per unit foliar phosphorus content is a little higher in understorey species which are partially shaded by the overstorey canopy.

© CSIRO 1990

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