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Re: What is the function or reddish abaxial leaf surface?

  • Subject: Re: What is the function or reddish abaxial leaf surface?
  • From: "Marek Argent" <abri1973@wp.pl>
  • Date: Sun, 4 Apr 2010 02:32:10 +0200

Dear Ferenc,
When a plant is exposed to too strong sunlight, the leaves' upper side often becomes red, purple or violet to protect the chlorophyll layer below from damage.
Plants growing in deep shade have often the abaxial surface, below the chlorophyll red to violet. It works like a mirror. For photosynthesis plants require the red and blue wavelengths of the sunlight spectrum. When the leaf below the chlorophyll layer is red, violet or purple (combinations of red + blue), the light passes the chlorophyll layer, then it is being reflected by the coloured layer below and passes the chlorophyll layer twice. This way some plants have accomodated in evolution to live in low light.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, April 03, 2010 2:20 PM
Subject: [Aroid-l] What is the function or reddish abaxial leaf surface?

What might be the function (if any) of the reddish color of the abaxial leaf surface of some Philodendrons? I have acuired a juvenile specimen of a houseplant (presumably Philodendron sagittifolium or a Holland hybrid) which has leaves colored reddish on the abaxial surface. The undreside of some leaves are more reddish than those of others, but the adaxial surface is always green. I have read that juvenile specimens of Philodendron melinonii and maybe other species has a reddish underside too. Why is it good for the plant to have a reddish leaf surface on the underside? I can imagine that a reddish color could provide protection of leaf tissues from excess sunshine, but I can't see any meaning of it on the underside. 

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