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RE: Cult:Spiral leaves

From: Bill Shear <BILLS@hsc.edu>

>> What causes an iris leaf to spiral as it grows?

The proximate cause is more rapid growth of cells on the leaf margins than
in the leaf center.  What might cause this, I do not know.  As Maureen
pointed out, it is normal or usual for some species but occurs only
occasionally in others. Some plant physiologists have speculated that
spiral linear leaves allow for more even exposure of all leaf surfaces to
light.  Both surfaces of an iris leaf are formed from the morphological
lower surface (in other words, if the leaf were unfolded, the two surfaces
facing each other in the middle would be the top surfaces of the unfolded
leaf).  Not sure if this has anything to do with it.

Bill Shear
Department of Biology
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney VA 23943
FAX (804)223-6374

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