Crassulacean Acid Metabolism in the Strangler Clusia rosea Jacq.

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Science  06 Sep 1985:
Vol. 229, Issue 4717, pp. 969-971
DOI: 10.1126/science.229.4717.969


Observations of malic acid fluctuation, leaf anatomy, and stable carbon isotopic composition showed that the epiphytic strangler Clusia rosea, growing on Saint John, U.S. Virgin Islands, has crassulacean acid metabolism. This hemiepiphyte may be the only woody dicotyledonous tree species among the many thousands of flowering species in the 30 or more plant families that shows this type of metabolism. The finding has implications with respect to water balance during the process whereby Clusia rosea establishes itself as a tree, since crassulacean acid metabolism is a photosynthetic adaptation to water-stressed environments.

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