Leaf-stem allometry, hollow stems, and the evolution of caulinary domatia in myrmecophytes
- • Leaf-stem size relationships over ontogeny were studied here in three different lineages of hollow-stemmed myrmecophytes in order to understand how a new stem function affects morphology.
- • In each of six taxa, the primary cross-sectional area of a terminal internode and the area of the leaf borne by it were measured on plants representing all stages of ontogeny. Cross-sectional areas of both the cavity and the ring of wood were determined.
- • The leaf-stem relationship over ontogeny was allometric, in contrast to the isometry previously found in solid-stemmed relatives. Stem cross-sectional area was initially larger relative to leaf area than for solid-stemmed species, increasing less than proportionally with increasing leaf size.
- • Because mechanical stability requires a minimum ratio of t (thickness of the solid ring) to R (external radius of the cylinder), cross-sectional area of the ring of wood must vary with that of the cavity; both contributed to leaf-stem allometry. Relative to leaves, both are initially large and increase more slowly over ontogeny, suggesting that domatia are particularly costly for plants early in development.