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  Holes in leaves
From: Corey W <cewickliffe at gmail.com> on 2016.06.27 at 15:38:27(23645)

I'm splitting this email since the thread has give on two very different directions.

This is another cool question I had in my list, but I try not to pile on questions :)

I would want to point out that some "holes" would also be related leaf shape overall, and thinking about them separately and out of their ecological niche can make it tricky. The reason a climbing plant that breaks the canopy could have their holes and leaf shape distortions away from whole leaves could have a completely different reason than an understory plant with similar leaf shape but very different conditions. (SO COOL! And yet also a researchers hell!).

One of the things I love about the book I brought up before (Nature's Palette) is that in the wonderings of cool plant function relating to how they look he did touch for a second on interesting shapes. In some plants (the understory niche I mentioned before) irregular leaf shape and holes can be an attempt to look like the plant has already been preyed upon (think insects) which implies that a new insect may have competition and/or not much food left on the plant (all the tender bits eaten and only the tough stuff left). Rainforest plants have tons of these tricks!!

Meanwhile a plant that goes from whole juvenile leaves to highly modified shape that can include holes is wider if it tended to grow in areas of broken canopy (IME - but I don't grow a lot of these). In that case wind becomes an issue, and it's either build a shape that handles it well, or be built for your leaves to rip easily (Pothos/E. aureum seems to do this). I well built whole leaf may be ripped off the plant entirely, or lead to the plant being ripped off the tree by wind!

Palms show a similar pinnate structure for wind, and it's interesting to contrast the stunning little whole leaf understory species. They also can show transition from whole juvenile leaves to pinnate as they age, and some palms have very easy to rip leaves perfect for shredding in wind. Others will decline of their leaves get shredded.

Thank you all for plant nerding, I love this!!




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