Comparison of leaf shape between a Photinia hybrid and one of its parents
Zheng, X and Niklas, KJ and Ratkowsky, DA and Jiao, Y and Ding, H and Shi, P, Comparison of leaf shape between a Photinia hybrid and one of its parents, Plants, 11, (18) Article 2370. ISSN 2223-7747 (2022) [Refereed Article]
Leaf shape and size can vary between hybrids and their parents. However, this has seldom been quantitatively tested. Photinia × fraseri is an important landscaping plant in East Asia as a hybrid between evergreen shrubs P. glabra and P. serratifolia. Its leaf shape looks like that of P. serratifolia. To investigate leaf shape, we used a general equation for calculating the leaf area (A) of broad-leaved plants, which assumes a proportional relationship between A and product of lamina length (L) and width (W). The proportionality coefficient (which is referred to as the Montgomery parameter) serves as a quantitative indicator of leaf shape, because it reflects the proportion of leaf area A to the area of a rectangle with L and W as its side lengths. The ratio of L to W, and the ellipticalness index were also used to quantify the complexity of leaf shape for elliptical leaves. A total of > 4000 leaves from P. × fraseri and P. serratifolia (with > 2000 leaves for each taxon) collected on a monthly basis was used to examine: (i) whether there is a significant difference in leaf shape between the two taxa, and (ii) whether there is a monotonic or parabolic trend in leaf shape across leaf ages. There was a significant difference in leaf shape between the two taxa (p < 0.05). Although there were significant differences in leaf shape on a monthly basis, the variation in leaf shape over time was not large, i.e., leaf shape was relatively stable over time for both taxa. However, the leaf shape of the hybrid was significantly different from its parent P. serratifolia, which has wider and more elliptical leaves than the hybrid. This work demonstrates that variations in leaf shape resulting from hybridization can be rigorously quantified and compared among species and their hybrids. In addition, this work shows that leaf shape does not changes as a function of age either before or after the full expansion of the lamina.