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Keywords:

  • Crassulacean acid metabolism;
  • epiphytes;
  • Panama;
  • tropical forest;
  • Barro Colorado Island

summary

The occurrence of crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) among the epiphyte flora of the lowland forest on Barro Colorado Island (BCJ), Panama, was investigated. A total of 116 species was included, i.e. about 2/3 of the known epiphyte taxa. As judged from the carbon isotope ratios and the absence of Kranz anatomy, indications of CAM were found in 29 species of three families, Orchidaceae (20), Bromeliaceae (7), and Cactaceae (2). We estimate that about 25% of the epiphyte flora of BCI are CAM plants. CAM was most prevalent in exposed sites, but even in the understorey two epiphyte species engage in CAM.