Leaf phenology, growth and photosynthesis in Pseudobombax munguba (Malvaceae)

Ricardo Antonio Marenco, Francinete de Freitas Sousa, Marcilia Freitas de Oliveira


The munguba (Pseudobombax munguba) is a tree often found in low-land forests of the Amazon region, and there is a paucity of data regarding the ecophysiology of this species. The aim of this work was to determine the photosynthetic rates and growth of munguba saplings and to describe the leaf phenology of a munguba tree. In greenhouse-grown saplings (340 days old, n =15), grow rates in diameter, leaf expansion rates, light-saturated photosynthesis (PNsat) and stomatal conductance (gs) were determined. To describe the relationship between photosynthesis and leaf expansion regression analysis was used. In a second experiment, we described the leaf phenology of an adult tree by visually observing foliage changes at one week interval for two years. The leaves completed their expansion in 18 days, and leaf greening was completed in 40 days. There was positive relationship between photosynthesis and leaf increase in size during ontogeny, but there was no correlation between gs and leaf expansion (p > 0.05). Plant growth in diameter was 1.8 mm month‒1 (about 2.94 g of dry matter per day). The relative growth rate was low 0.010 g g–1 day–1, most likely because a low amount of biomass was allocated to leaves. In the adult tree, leaf senescence occurred in June-July and leaf shedding was concentrated mainly in August and by the second week of September the tree has already produced new leaves. It was concluded that the leaf longevity of munguba is 11 months. It is hypothesized that leaf senescence was induced by the high insolation that occur in the dry season.


Amazon; forest species; leaf physiology.


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