Research article

Variation of leaf morphological traits in natural populations of Fagus orientalis Lipsky in the Caspian forests of Northern Iran

Vilma Bayramzadeh , Pedram Attarod, Mohammad Taghi Ahmadi, Maryam Ghadiri, Ronak Akbari, Turaj Safarkar, Anoushirvan Shirvany

Vilma Bayramzadeh
Department of Soil Sciences, Karaj Branch, Islamic Azad University, Karaj, Iran. Email: v.bayramzadeh@kiau.ac.ir
Pedram Attarod
Department of Forestry Forest Economics, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Tehran, Karaj, Iran. P.O. Box 31585-4314
Mohammad Taghi Ahmadi
Department of Forestry Forest Economics, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Tehran, Karaj, Iran. P.O. Box 31585-4314
Maryam Ghadiri
Department of Soil Sciences, Karaj Branch, Islamic Azad University, Karaj, Iran
Ronak Akbari
Department of Soil Sciences, Karaj Branch, Islamic Azad University, Karaj, Iran
Turaj Safarkar
Natural Resources Bureau of Astara, Forest, Range Watershed Organization of Iran
Anoushirvan Shirvany
Department of Forestry Forest Economics, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Tehran, Karaj, Iran. P.O. Box 31585-4314

Online First: November 01, 2011
Bayramzadeh, V., Attarod, P., Ahmadi, M., Ghadiri, M., Akbari, R., Safarkar, T., Shirvany, A. 2011. Variation of leaf morphological traits in natural populations of Fagus orientalis Lipsky in the Caspian forests of Northern Iran. Annals of Forest Research 55(1): 33-42.


Oriental beech (Fagus orientalis Lipsky) is a dominant tree species in the Caspian forests, where occupies approximately 18% of the forested area and produce more than 35% of the total wood stock volume in this region. However, little information is available about its variation along the Caspian forests of Northern Iran. This work studied the morphological variation of five native oriental beech populations grown in the western Caspian region in Guilan province (Astara, Asalem, Fuman, Chere, Shenrud). Eight leaf morphological traits, including leaf length, leaf width, petiole length, leaf area, leaf dry mass per unit leaf area, leaf thickness, leaf density were measured in 200 trees. The results showed that all measured leaf morphological traits were remarkably different among the populations, with the exception of distance between veins. A hierarchical classification of all populations led to the formation of three major groups: (i) Astara, (ii) Asalem, (iii) the rest of populations. Leaf morphological dissimilarities are possibly attributed to the genetic variations, developed as a result of adaptation to diverse environmental conditions. However, multisite common garden experiments would be needed in order to completely separate environmental and genetic factors explaining the observed level of natural variability. 

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