A geometrical model for testing bilateral symmetry of bamboo leaf with a simplified Gielis equation
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The size and shape of plant leaves change with growth, and an accurate description of leaf shape is crucial for describing plant morphogenesis and development. Bilateral symmetry, which has been widely observed but poorly examined, occurs in both dicot and monocot leaves, including all nominated bamboo species (approximately 1,300 species), of which at least 500 are found in China. Although there are apparent differences in leaf size among bamboo species due to genetic and environmental profiles, bamboo leaves have bilateral symmetry with parallel venation and appear similar across species. Here, we investigate whether the shape of bamboo leaves can be accurately described by a simplified Gielis equation, which consists of only two parameters (leaf length and shape) and produces a perfect bilateral shape. To test the applicability of this equation and the occurrence of bilateral symmetry, we first measured the leaf length of 42 bamboo species, examining >500 leaves per species. We then scanned 30 leaves per species that had approximately the same length as the median leaf length for that species. The leaf-shape data from scanned profiles were fitted to the simplified Gielis equation. Results confirmed that the equation fits the leaf-shape data extremely well, with the coefficients of determination being 0.995 on average. We further demonstrated the bilateral symmetry of bamboo leaves, with a clearly defined leaf-shape parameter of all 42 bamboo species investigated ranging from 0.02 to 0.1. This results in a simple and reliable tool for precise determination of bamboo species, with applications in forestry, ecology, and taxonomy.
- RESEARCH: Hui C