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Plant Physiol. 1989 Nov;91(3):1162-7.

Heliotropic leaf movements in common beans controlled by air temperature.

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Department of Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112.


Heliotropic leaf movements were examined in common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris cv Blue Lake Bush) under outdoor and laboratory conditions. Heliotropic leaf movements in well-watered plants were partly controlled by temperature, and appeared to be independent of atmospheric humidity and CO(2) concentration. When environmental conditions were held constant in the laboratory, increased air temperature caused bean leaves to orient more obliquely to a light source. Ambient CO(2), intercellular CO(2), and net photosynthesis were not correlated with the temperature-induced changes in heliotropic movements, nor did they significantly affect these movements directly. The effect of air temperature on leaf movements need not be mediated through a change in leaf water potential, transpiration, or leaf conductance. Air temperature modified laminar orientation in light through its effect on tissue temperature in the pulvinal region, not that of the lamina or petiole. However, under darkness the temperature effects on leaf movements were not expressed. Active heliotropic movements in response to air temperature allowed lamina temperature to remain close to the thermal optimum of photosynthesis. This temperature effect underlies a commonly observed pattern of leaf movements under well-watered conditions: a tendency for leaves to face the sun more obliquely on hot days than cool days.

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