Variation in leaf toughness and phenolic content among five species of Australian rain forest trees



Several leaf characteristics, including toughness and total phenols and condensed tannins, were measured in Australian rain forest leaves of different ages and related to observed herbivory rates. In most cases, toughness and chemical toxicity increased as leaves aged, and corresponding insect grazing decreased. Herbivory losses ranged from 4.8% to 32.5% leaf area losses, and were more positively correlated with toughness than with phenolics. It is suggested that a suite of factors, including physical and chemical characteristics of leaves as well as spatial and temporal factors, interact to create variation in grazing intensities.