Deciduous
Overview


Deciduous means "falling off at maturity" or "tending to fall off", and is typically used in reference to trees or shrubs that lose their leaves
Leaves
-History:Vocalist Arnar Gudjonsson was formerly the guitarist with Mower, and he was joined by Hallur Hallsson , Arnar Ólafsson , Bjarni Grímsson , and Andri Ásgrímsson . Late in 2001 they played with Emiliana Torrini and drew early praise from the New York Times...

 seasonally, and to the shedding of other plant structures such as petals after flowering or fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

 when ripe. In a more specific sense, deciduous means the dropping of a part that is no longer needed, or falling away after its purpose is finished.
Encyclopedia


Deciduous means "falling off at maturity" or "tending to fall off", and is typically used in reference to trees or shrubs that lose their leaves
Leaves
-History:Vocalist Arnar Gudjonsson was formerly the guitarist with Mower, and he was joined by Hallur Hallsson , Arnar Ólafsson , Bjarni Grímsson , and Andri Ásgrímsson . Late in 2001 they played with Emiliana Torrini and drew early praise from the New York Times...

 seasonally, and to the shedding of other plant structures such as petals after flowering or fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

 when ripe. In a more specific sense, deciduous means the dropping of a part that is no longer needed, or falling away after its purpose is finished. In plants it is the result of natural processes. Deciduous has a similar meaning when referring to animal parts, such as deciduous antler
Antler
Antlers are the usually large, branching bony appendages on the heads of most deer species.-Etymology:Antler originally meant the lowest tine, the "brow tine"...

s in deer
Deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

, or deciduous teeth
Deciduous teeth
Deciduous teeth, otherwise known as reborner teeth, baby teeth, temporary teeth and primary teeth, are the first set of teeth in the growth development of humans and many other mammals. In some Asian countries they are referred to as fall teeth as they will eventually fall out, while in almost all...

, also known as baby teeth, in some mammals (including human children).

Botany

In botany
Botany
Botany, plant science, or plant biology is a branch of biology that involves the scientific study of plant life. Traditionally, botany also included the study of fungi, algae and viruses...

 and horticulture
Horticulture
Horticulture is the industry and science of plant cultivation including the process of preparing soil for the planting of seeds, tubers, or cuttings. Horticulturists work and conduct research in the disciplines of plant propagation and cultivation, crop production, plant breeding and genetic...

, deciduous plant
Plant
Plants are living organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae. Precise definitions of the kingdom vary, but as the term is used here, plants include familiar organisms such as trees, flowers, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae. The group is also called green plants or...

s
, including tree
Tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

s, shrubs and herbaceous
Herbaceous
A herbaceous plant is a plant that has leaves and stems that die down at the end of the growing season to the soil level. They have no persistent woody stem above ground...

 perennials, are those that lose all of their leaves
Leaves
-History:Vocalist Arnar Gudjonsson was formerly the guitarist with Mower, and he was joined by Hallur Hallsson , Arnar Ólafsson , Bjarni Grímsson , and Andri Ásgrímsson . Late in 2001 they played with Emiliana Torrini and drew early praise from the New York Times...

 for part of the year. This process is called abscission
Abscission
Abscission is a term used in several areas of biology. In plant sciences it most commonly refers to the process by which a plant drops one or more of its parts, such as a leaf, fruit, flower or seed...

. In some cases leaf loss coincides with winter - namely in temperate
Temperate
In geography, temperate or tepid latitudes of the globe lie between the tropics and the polar circles. The changes in these regions between summer and winter are generally relatively moderate, rather than extreme hot or cold...

 or polar climate
Polar climate
Regions with a polar climate are characterized by a lack of warm summers . Regions with polar climate cover over 20% of the Earth. The sun shines 24 hours in the summer, and barely ever shines at all in the winter...

s. In other parts of the world, including tropical, subtropical, and arid regions, plants lose their leaves during the dry season
Dry season
The dry season is a term commonly used when describing the weather in the tropics. The weather in the tropics is dominated by the tropical rain belt, which oscillates from the northern to the southern tropics over the course of the year...

 or other seasons, depending on variations in rain
Rain
Rain is liquid precipitation, as opposed to non-liquid kinds of precipitation such as snow, hail and sleet. Rain requires the presence of a thick layer of the atmosphere to have temperatures above the melting point of water near and above the Earth's surface...

fall.

The converse of deciduous is evergreen
Evergreen
In botany, an evergreen plant is a plant that has leaves in all seasons. This contrasts with deciduous plants, which completely lose their foliage during the winter or dry season.There are many different kinds of evergreen plants, both trees and shrubs...

, where green foliage is persistent year round. Plants that are intermediate may be called semi-deciduous
Semi-deciduous
Semi-deciduous is a botanical term which refers to plants that lose part of their foliage, also Semi-deciduous plants can mean, that plants can lose their foliage for a very short period, when old leaves fall off and new foliage growth is starting. This phenomenon occurs in tropical and...

; they lose old foliage as new growth begins. Other plants are semi-evergreen and lose their leaves before the next growing season, retaining some during winter or dry periods. Some trees, including a few species of oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

, have desiccated leaves that remain on the tree through winter; these dry persistent leaves are called marcescent leaves and are dropped in the spring as new growth begins.

Many deciduous plants flower
Flower
A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants . The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs...

 during the period when they are leafless, as this increases the effectiveness of pollination
Pollination
Pollination is the process by which pollen is transferred in plants, thereby enabling fertilisation and sexual reproduction. Pollen grains transport the male gametes to where the female gamete are contained within the carpel; in gymnosperms the pollen is directly applied to the ovule itself...

. The absence of leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

 improves wind transmission of pollen for wind-pollinated plants and increases the visibility of the flowers to insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

s in insect-pollinated plants. This strategy is not without risks, as the flowers can be damaged by frost or, in dry season regions, result in water stress on the plant. Nevertheless, there is much less branch and trunk breakage from glaze ice storms when leafless, and plants can reduce water loss due to the reduction in availability of liquid water during cold winter days.

Leaf drop or abscission
Abscission
Abscission is a term used in several areas of biology. In plant sciences it most commonly refers to the process by which a plant drops one or more of its parts, such as a leaf, fruit, flower or seed...

 involves complex physiological signals and changes within plants. The process of photosynthesis steadily degrades the supply of chlorophylls in foliage; plants normally replenish chlorophylls during the summer months. When autumn
Autumn
Autumn is one of the four temperate seasons. Autumn marks the transition from summer into winter usually in September or March when the arrival of night becomes noticeably earlier....

 arrives and the days are shorter or when plants are drought-stressed, deciduous trees decrease chlorophyll pigment production, allowing other pigments present in the leaf to become apparent, resulting in non-green colored foliage. The brightest leaf colors are produced when days grow short and nights are cool, but remain above freezing. These other pigments include carotenoid
Carotenoid
Carotenoids are tetraterpenoid organic pigments that are naturally occurring in the chloroplasts and chromoplasts of plants and some other photosynthetic organisms like algae, some bacteria, and some types of fungus. Carotenoids can be synthesized fats and other basic organic metabolic building...

s that are yellow, brown, and orange. Anthocyanin
Anthocyanin
Anthocyanins are water-soluble vacuolar pigments that may appear red, purple, or blue according to pH...

 pigments produce red and purple colors, though they are not always present in the leaves. Rather, they are produced in the foliage in late summer, when sugars are trapped in the leaves after the process of abscission begins. Parts of the world that have showy displays of bright autumn colors are limited to locations where days become short and nights are cool. In other parts of the world, the leaves of deciduous trees simply fall off without turning the bright colors produced from the accumulation of anthocyanin pigments.
The beginnings of leaf drop starts when an abscission layer is formed between the leaf petiole
Petiole (botany)
In botany, the petiole is the stalk attaching the leaf blade to the stem. The petiole usually has the same internal structure as the stem. Outgrowths appearing on each side of the petiole are called stipules. Leaves lacking a petiole are called sessile, or clasping when they partly surround the...

 and the stem. This layer is formed in the spring during active new growth of the leaf; it consists of layers of cells that can separate from each other.
The cells are sensitive to a plant hormone
Plant hormone
Plant hormones are chemicals that regulate plant growth, which, in the UK, are termed 'plant growth substances'. Plant hormones are signal molecules produced within the plant, and occur in extremely low concentrations. Hormones regulate cellular processes in targeted cells locally and, when moved...

 called auxin
Auxin
Auxins are a class of plant hormones with some morphogen-like characteristics. Auxins have a cardinal role in coordination of many growth and behavioral processes in the plant's life cycle and are essential for plant body development. Auxins and their role in plant growth were first described by...

 that is produced by the leaf and other parts of the plant. When auxin coming from the leaf is produced at a rate consistent with that from the body of the plant, the cells of the abscission layer remain connected; in autumn, or when under stress, the auxin flow from the leaf decreases or stops, triggering cellular elongation within the abscission layer. The elongation of these cells break the connection between the different cell layers, allowing the leaf to break away from the plant. It also forms a layer that seals the break, so the plant does not lose sap.

A number of deciduous plants remove nitrogen and carbon from the foliage before they are shed and store them in the form of proteins in the vacuoles of parenchyma
Parenchyma
Parenchyma is a term used to describe a bulk of a substance. It is used in different ways in animals and in plants.The term is New Latin, f. Greek παρέγχυμα - parenkhuma, "visceral flesh", f. παρεγχεῖν - parenkhein, "to pour in" f. para-, "beside" + en-, "in" + khein, "to pour"...

 cells in the roots and the inner bark. In the spring, these proteins are used as a nitrogen source during the growth of new leaves or flowers.

Function

Plants with deciduous foliage have both advantages and disadvantages compared to plants with evergreen foliage. Since deciduous plants lose their leaves to conserve water or to better survive winter weather conditions, they must regrow new foliage during the next suitable growing season; this uses resources which evergreens do not need to expend. Evergreens suffer greater water loss during the winter and they also can experience greater predation pressure, especially when small. Losing leaves in winter may reduce damage from insects; repairing leaves and keeping them functional may be more costly than just losing and regrowing them. Removing leaves also reduces cavitation which can damage xylem
Xylem
Xylem is one of the two types of transport tissue in vascular plants. . The word xylem is derived from the Classical Greek word ξυλον , meaning "wood"; the best-known xylem tissue is wood, though it is found throughout the plant...

 vessels in plants. This then allows deciduous plants to have xylem vessels with larger diameters and therefore a greater rate of transpiration (and hence CO2 uptake as this occurs when stomata are open) during the summer growth period.

Deciduous woody plants

The deciduous characteristic has developed repeatedly among woody plants. Trees include Maple
Maple
Acer is a genus of trees or shrubs commonly known as maple.Maples are variously classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or together with the Hippocastanaceae included in the family Sapindaceae. Modern classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system, favour inclusion in...

, many Oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

s, Elm
Elm
Elms are deciduous and semi-deciduous trees comprising the genus Ulmus in the plant family Ulmaceae. The dozens of species are found in temperate and tropical-montane regions of North America and Eurasia, ranging southward into Indonesia. Elms are components of many kinds of natural forests...

, Aspen
Aspen
Populus section Populus, of the Populus genus, includes the aspen trees and the white poplar Populus alba. The five typical aspens are all native to cold regions with cool summers, in the north of the Northern Hemisphere, extending south at high altitudes in the mountains. The White Poplar, by...

, and Birch
Birch
Birch is a tree or shrub of the genus Betula , in the family Betulaceae, closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. The Betula genus contains 30–60 known taxa...

, among others, as well as a number of coniferous genera
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

, such as Larch
Larch
Larches are conifers in the genus Larix, in the family Pinaceae. Growing from 15 to 50m tall, they are native to much of the cooler temperate northern hemisphere, on lowlands in the north and high on mountains further south...

 and Metasequoia
Metasequoia
Metasequoia is a fast-growing, deciduous tree, and the sole living species, Metasequoia glyptostroboides, is one of three species of conifers known as redwoods. It is native to the Sichuan-Hubei region of China. Although the least tall of the redwoods, it grows to at least 200 feet in height...

. Deciduous shrubs include honeysuckle
Honeysuckle
Honeysuckles are arching shrubs or twining vines in the family Caprifoliaceae, native to the Northern Hemisphere. There are about 180 species of honeysuckle, 100 of which occur in China; Europe, India and North America have only about 20 native species each...

, viburnum
Viburnum
Viburnum is a genus of about 150–175 species of shrubs or small trees in the moschatel family, Adoxaceae. Its current classification is based on molecular phylogeny...

, and many others. Most temperate woody vines are also deciduous, including grape
Vitis
Vitis is a genus of about 60 species of vining plants in the flowering plant family Vitaceae. The genus is made up of species predominantly from the Northern hemisphere. It is economically important as the source of grapes, both for direct consumption of the fruit and for fermentation to produce...

s, poison ivy
Poison ivy
Toxicodendron radicans, better known as poison ivy , is a poisonous North American plant that is well known for its production of urushiol, a clear liquid compound found within the sap of the plant that causes an itching rash in most people who touch it...

, virginia creeper, wisteria
Wisteria
Wisteria is a genus of flowering plants in the pea family, Fabaceae, that includes ten species of woody climbing vines native to the eastern United States and to China, Korea, and Japan. Aquarists refer to the species Hygrophila difformis, in the family Acanthaceae, as Water Wisteria...

, etc. The characteristic is useful in plant identification; for instance in parts of Southern California
Southern California
Southern California is a megaregion, or megapolitan area, in the southern area of the U.S. state of California. Large urban areas include Greater Los Angeles and Greater San Diego. The urban area stretches along the coast from Ventura through the Southland and Inland Empire to San Diego...

 and the American Southeast, deciduous and evergreen oak species may grow side by side.

Periods of leaf fall often coincide with seasons: winter in the case of cool-climate plants or the dry-season in the case of tropical plants, however there are no deciduous species among tree-like monocotyledonous plants, e.g. palms, yucca
Yucca
Yucca is a genus of perennial shrubs and trees in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Agavoideae. Its 40-50 species are notable for their rosettes of evergreen, tough, sword-shaped leaves and large terminal panicles of white or whitish flowers. They are native to the hot and dry parts of North...

s, and dracena
Dracena
Dracena is a municipality in the state of São Paulo in Brazil. The population in 2004 is 40,914 and the area is 489.35 km². The elevation is 421 m. The climate is subtopical, The annual medium temperature is 23,4°C, the warmest month is January 27,8°C and the coolest month is July 17,3°C. The...

s.

Regions

Forests where a majority of the trees lose their foliage at the end of the typical growing season are called deciduous forests. These forests are found in many areas worldwide and have distinctive ecosystems, understory growth, and soil
Soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

 dynamics.

Two distinctive types of deciduous forest are found growing around the world.

Temperate deciduous forest
Temperate deciduous forest
A temperate deciduous forest, more precisely termed temperate broadleaf forest or temperate broadleaved forest, is a biome found in North America, southern South America, Europe, and Asia. A temperate deciduous forest consists of trees that lose their leaves every year...

biomes are plant communities distributed in North and South America, Asia and Europe. They have formed under climatic conditions which have great seasonable temperature variability with growth occurring during warm summers and leaf drop in autumn and dormancy during cold winters. These seasonally distinctive communities have diverse life forms that are impacted greatly by the seasonality of their climate, mainly temperature and precipitation rates. These varying and regionally different ecological conditions produce distinctive forest plant communities in different regions.

Tropical and subtropical deciduous forest
Tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests
The tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forest biome, also known as tropical dry forest, is located at tropical and subtropical latitudes. Though these forests occur in climates that are warm year-round, and may receive several hundred centimeters of rain per year, they have long dry seasons...

biomes have developed in response not to seasonal temperature variations but to seasonal rainfall patterns. During prolonged dry periods the foliage is dropped to conserve water and prevent death from drought. Leaf drop is not seasonally dependent as it is in temperate climates, and can occur any time of year and varies by region of the world. Even within a small local area there can be variations in the timing and duration of leaf drop; different sides of the same mountain and areas that have high water tables or areas along streams and rivers can produce a patchwork of leafy and leafless trees.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK