A functional–structural model of elongation of the grass leaf and its relationships with the phyllochron


Author for correspondence: Christian Fournier Tel: +33 1 30 81 55 50 Fax: +33 1 30 81 55 63 Email: Christian.Fournier@grignon.inra.fr


  • • The emergence of a regular phyllochron from the dynamic processes of leaf initiation, leaf elongation and whorl construction suggests causal relationships between leaf elongation and leaf emergence. This paper presents a hypothesis as to how the ontogeny of the growth zone of leaves is triggered by emergence events, and implements it in a dynamic model of leaf elongation.
  • • Two different experiments, presenting two contrasted cases of relationships between leaf emergence and kinetics of leaf elongation, were analysed and interpreted with the model in terms of the functioning of the growth zone.
  • • Analysis of elongation kinetics revealed that the hypothesis allows for several contrasted elongation patterns that were observed, and for a regular phyllochron emerging from the variable dynamic of elongation. The model was able to simulate these patterns, and helped to identify the mechanisms underlying the key points of the analysis.
  • • The hypothesis is not demonstrated, but its coherence and robustness are established, which should inform a renewal of the modelling of leaf elongation in architectural models.