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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: August 2019

5 - Leaf Optical Properties in Different Wavelength Domains


This chapter describes the optical properties of leaves at the epidermis and how, to a large extent, the anatomical and morphological structure of the epidermis moderates, controls, and influences the optical properties of the leaf mesophyll and its functioning. We start with the properties of waxes, hairs, and the three-dimensional surface structures and explain many optical phenomena related to scattering of light away from the leaf such as iridescence and specular reflectance, and how surface roughness interacts with water. We discuss how light is focused into the leaf by the epidermal cells, illustrating how this is critical to leaf functions like exchanges of energy and gases.

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