The role of structural photoprotection under photoinhibitory winter conditions was evaluated in two Mediterranean woody species: Cistus albidus (semideciduous) and Quercus ilex (evergreen). Shoots were manipulated in order to modify the light load naturally received by the leaves throughout the cold season, and monitored for changes in maximum photochemical efficiency of PSII, phenology, and leaf morphology. Naturally steep leaves of C. albidus were restrained to a horizontal position, and compared with control leaves (naturally horizontal, or steeply inclined). Fully exposed leaves of Q. ilex were artificially protected through partial shading, and compared with control leaves (not shaded). During the cold season, the most exposed (either naturally or artificially) leaves were always more photoinhibited (had lower maximal photochemical efficiency of PSII) than the photoprotected ones. The differences disappeared at the beginning of spring. Winter photoinhibition was not more pronounced in older than in younger leaves of C. albidus, indicating that inclination rather than age affected their photochemical efficiency. Leaf chlorophyll contents were not significantly affected by the manipulations. Leaf thickness decreased slightly in the least exposed shoots of the evergreen species, but no changes were detected in leaf morphological traits of the semideciduous one. The increased photoinhibitory pressure led only to slight and non-significant changes in phenology and growth. © 2002 Elsevier Science B. V. All rights reserved.
- Leaf angle
- Mediterranean winter