The Effects of Soil Type, Exposure and Elevation on Leaf Size and Shape in Quercus cerris L.

Časopis: South-east European forestry

Volume, no: 14 , 1

ISSN: 1847-6481

DOI: 10.15177/seefor.23-08

Stranice: 27-36


One of the main environmental factors that influence plant species and community diversity are soil types, exposure and elevation. This study aimed to evaluate differences in leaf size and shape of Quercus cerris L. along environmental gradients in the Šumadija region in Serbia by using geometric morphometrics methods. The results showed significant differences between Q. cerris individuals inhabiting sites with different soil types, exposures and elevations. Individuals growing on nutrient deficient soils had smaller leaf size, elongated petiole, wide leaf blade, and higher values of fluctuating asymmetry compared to individuals growing on nutrient-rich soils whose leaf size was larger, more variable in shape and had lower values of fluctuating asymmetry. Additionally, individuals inhabiting higher elevations had elongated and narrow leaves and short petioles. Leaf size was also greater in individuals from lower elevations and north-exposed sites. The results of this study suggest that leaf morphological traits are affected by habitat differences and exhibit considerable plasticity in response to environmental demands.
Ključne reči: Turkey oak; habitat differences; leaf morphometrics; intraspecific variability