Nondestructive estimates of leaf area in white clover using predictive formulae: The contribution of genotype identity to trifoliate leaf area
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Studies on plant development in ecology and agriculture typically assess the formation of leaf area. Plants studied here were clonal propagates of nine genets of Trifolium repens cv. Milkanova (white clover), a common species of grasslands and an important forage legume. A simple predictive mathematical relationship is introduced that can be used to estimate the area of trifoliate leaves nondestructively from the lengths of the corresponding middle leaflets. Since differences in the correlative relationship between area and length were found among all nine investigated plant genets, genet-specific coefficients are reported. Our findings suggest that before nondestructive growth analyses are undertaken on the leaf area of clonal propagates of white clover, appropriate genet-specific coefficients for individual predictive formulae should be determined. However, for studies in the field or mathematical modeling on a larger scale, where ecological factors may have much greater influence on leaf development than genotypes, the common predictive equation calculated for all nine genets appears to be a reasonable approximation.
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