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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 14 No. 3, p. 444-447
    Received: Oct 29, 1973

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Morphological and Anatomical Features of Alfalfa Leaves as Related to CO2 Exchange1

  1. R. H. Delaney and
  2. A. K. Dobrenz2



Cuttings from alfalfa (Medicago sativa L cv. ‘Mesa-Sirsa’) genotypes which exhibited a wide range in leaflet size were grown under spaced-planted and nonspaced-planted conditions and used to determine the relation. ships between leaflet anatomy, leaflet morphology, and CO2 exchange. These same relationships were evaluated under controlled environmental conditions using alfalfa population MSE-6 which has a broad germplasm base.

Area per leaflet and leaflet width were negatively associated with photosynthetic rate per unit leaf area. Specific leaf weight (SLW) was positively correlated with photosynthesis; however, the correlation coefficients were consistently lower than the r values for leaflet size vs photosynthesis. Photosynthesis expressed as total CO2 uptake per plant was no~ significantly associated with SLW and leaflet size. Plants with small leaves had the greatest SLW, palisade tissue thickness, and leaf thickness. A positive association was observed between palisade tissue thickness and photosynthesis expressed on a leaf area basis. The significance of leaflet size as a selection tool for photosynthetic rate in alfalfa is discussed.

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