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Estimating leaf area of Jatropha nana through non-destructive allometric models

Plant Physiology Laboratory, Federal University of Pernambuco, Department of Botany, Recife, PE, Brazil, 50670901

Jatropha nana is an endemic, threatened under-shrub possessing significant economic potential. In spite of this economic importance, there has been no allometric equation described till date to estimate its leaf area. We address this lacuna by describing a method of estimating the leaf area directly, without using expensive leaf meters. For the two leaf morphotypes of J. nana (monolobed and trilobed), developing and mature leaves were collected from field and an allometric relationship was developed, using length (L), width (W) and LW as independent variables. For the described equations, the coefficient of determination (Ra2) between true leaf area and leaf dimensions ranged from 0.8356 to 0.9963. After applying certain statistical criteria we report that the equations Ŷ = 0.6942*(LW) and Ŷ = 0.6426*(LW) are the best for estimating the monolobed and trilobed leaf area respectively. These equations could be further simplified by considering only one leaf dimension (W). Thus the equation Ŷ = 1.2890*(W)1.8794 for monolobed leaves and Ŷ = 1.1089*(W)1.8030 for trilobed leaves estimate leaf area of J. nana with high precision, accuracy, random dispersion pattern of residuals and without any bias. These equations will be vital for addressing several further questions on this under-researched species.
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