Leaf’s life

24 06 2012

“Vincent Vega: It’s the little differences. I mean they got the same shit over there that they got here, but it’s just, just there it’s a little different.

Jules: Example.”

– Pulp Fiction

The laurel rainforest it’s neither a Mediterranean forest nor a tropical rainforest. The average annual rainfall is around 1000 mm, what is quite dry, and most of the leafs show a hard cuticle to prevent from water losses. Rainfall is the main limiting factor, but I wanted to see some other things that make that forest so special. Little differences in the leafs can lead to big differences in the forest. The Indian bay Persea indica is maybe  the most abundant tree species of the laurel forest and I think it’s worth to look at its lifecycle to explain the evolution of the whole forest.

Firstly, I looked at a died young leaf. I would like to see its texture and its illness. It lacks the hard cuticle, it doesn’t need it since young trees live in the undergrowth, where the light is scarce. That leaf had a lot of fungal infections, expect-able in a dead leaf, too attractive if you are a hungry oomycete.

The light must be therefore another important factor. I raised up my head and saw the distribution of the leafs. Everywhere there was a ray of light, there was a branch with leafs. That leafs have already a hard cuticle and the young pale green yield to a dark bright green. Nothing seems to be hazardous, leaf morphology is due to water abundance and leaf distribution is due to light abundance. 

Finally, I looked at the floor and found a new colour. The green is no longer needed and the leafs were all together turned into a reddish carpet that covered all the ground. In that moment, neither the water nor the light matter at all, leafs are just waiting for the passing, but even though they have kept that nice image to show in the last moment.

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