Individual plants can produce leaves that differ substantially in size, morphology and many other traits. However, leaves that play a specific role in reproduction have rarely been reported. Here, we report leaves specialized to enclose fruit clusters and enhance seed production in an annual vine, Schizopepon bryoniifolius. Enclosure leaves were produced at the end of the growing season in late autumn. They were different in greenness and structure from other leaves. Under solar radiation, the ambient temperature inside an intact enclosure was up to 4.6°C higher than that near a fruit cluster whose enclosure leaves had been removed. We found that enclosures were thicker at colder sites. Removal of enclosing leaves negatively affected fruit survival and/or growth, but we could not identify the exact mechanism. The results suggested that enclosures allow the plant to produce seeds under the cold weather the plant encounters at the end of its life. Vegetative and reproductive traits of plants have usually been studied separately. This study indicates how they can dynamically interact, as shown by an examination of associations among leaf and reproductive trait changes according to life stages.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences|
|Publication status||Published - 14 Oct 2020|
- fruit set
- leaf enclosure