What is it about?

While most hypotheses propose that leaf driptips facilitate drying of the leaf surface through water removal after rainfall (Richards 1952), one other possible function of driptips is to reduce the drop size of leaf runoff and thereby abate soil erosion under a plane (Williamson 1981). And the ecological distribution of phenotypic tracts often provides evidence to evaluate such alternate hypotheses. Within wet tropical forests relative humidity decreases from ground level to the canopy, so evaporation potential is greatest in the canopy and lowest at the soil surface. Consequently, the pace of post rainfall leaf drying should be also increasing function of leaf height. If driptips function in water removal to facilitate leaf drying, then they should be well developed in the lower plant strata and poorly developed in the canopy. However, if driptips function to reduce drop size, they should be poorly developed in ground stratum plants because drops from leaf runoff attain little velocity and cause little erosion ,vhen falling less than 0.5 m. Driptips should be evident from the shrub layer co intermediate heights where leaf runoff diireccly impacts the soil with sufficient velocity to cause splash erosion. Higher in the canopy, leaves should lack driptips because runoff is intercepted by lower foliage.

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Why is it important?

Shows an alternative explanation for leave morphology.


This paper shows that there can be more than one explanation behind apparent obvious ones.

Dr. Aldemaro Romero, Jr.
University of Miami

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Driptips, Drop Size and Leaf Drying, Biotropica, September 1983, JSTOR,
DOI: 10.2307/2387834.
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