Photosynthetic traits of the evergreen broadleafed species Camellia japonica L. and Quercus glauca Thunb. were continuously investigated during autumn and winter using saplings that grew in different light environments (gap, deciduous canopy understory, and evergreen canopy understory) in a temperate forest. Light-saturated rates of net photosynthesis in midwinter and spring were lower than those in autumn. Photosynthetic capacity, scaled to a common leaf temperature of 25°C, increased or remained stable after autumn and then decreased in spring in most leaves. Photosynthetic traits per unit leaf area were different among leaves in different light environments of both Camellia and Quercus during most periods. However, photosynthetic traits per unit leaf mass did not differ among leaves in different light environments, suggesting that differences in photosynthetic traits were mainly due to different leaf mass per area among leaves. Photosynthetic rates under light availability typical in the environment were lower in winter than in autumn in leaves in the sun in a gap but were not different in leaves in the shade under evergreen canopy trees. Thus, the importance of winter carbon gain for annual carbon gain is small in leaves in a gap but is large in leaves under evergreen canopy trees.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science