The Q&A Archives: Leaf Size in regard to sun exposure

Question: Hello, I was just wondering if you would be able to give me any information about the size of leaves in regard to their sun exposure. We are doing a school project testing to see whether leaves that grow in the sun are larger or smaller than the shade leaves on the same tree(leaves same age). My results show, a variation between two results, some trees have larger sun leaves and others smaller sun leaves. Can you please help as to whether it is mostly dependable on the species not the sun? thankyou for your time.
Claire Butler

Answer: Generally speaking, leaves of sun loving plants will become larger in the shade as the plants become light starved and attempt to increase the leaf surface to maximize photosynthesis. Excessive nitrogen can also increase leaf size, however, so light is not the only variable contributing to that. And, overall condition of the plant can affect leaf size. A plant that is stressed may become dwarfed -- as for example, bonsai which miniaturize in response to their cramped root space. I hope this helps.

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