Photosynthetic responses of C3 and C4 species from cool shaded habitats in Hawaii

Robert H. Robichaux, Robert W. Pearcy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The C4 species, Euphorbia forbesii, and the C3 species, Claoxylon sandwicense, occupy cool, shaded habitats in Hawaii. Both of these species exhibit the photosynthetic characteristics of typical shade plants: low light-saturated photosynthetic rates, low dark respiration rates, low light levels for saturation of photosynthesis, and low light compensation points. In addition, the quantum yields of the two species are similar at leaf temperatures near 22°C, reflecting a significant increase in the quantum yield of E. forbesii over that of C4 species from open habitats. C. sandwicense has a lower dark respiration rate than E. forbesii. Hence, since the quantum yields of the two species are similar at cool temperatures, C. sandwicense has a higher photosynthetic rate than E. forbesii at low incident photon flux densities. As a consequence, C. sandwicense should have a greater carbon gain than E. forbesii under the diffuse radiation conditions of their native habitat. However, since E. forbesii has a higher light-saturated photosynthetic rate than C. sandwicense, E. forbesii may have a greater carbon gain than C. sandwicense during sunflecks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-109
Number of pages4
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1980
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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