Sun/shade adaptations of the photosynthetic apparatus of HOYA carnosa, an epiphytic CAM vine, in a subtropical rain forest in northeastern Taiwan

Craig E. Martin, Rebecca C.C. Hsu, Teng Chiu Lin

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Most past work on the ecophysiology of the Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) plant, Hoya carnosa, in the lab and in situ in Australia indicates that this epiphytic vine is better adapted to shaded, not exposed, locations, although a recent study of this species in Taiwan presents findings that run counter to this conclusion. Thus, photosynthetic characteristics of shaded and exposed individuals of H. carnosa were compared in situ in a subtropical rain forest in northeastern Taiwan in order to determine whether this CAM epiphyte is better adapted to the shade or the sun. Although leaves of shade plants had much greater chlorophyll concentrations than did those of sun plants, chlorophyll a/b ratios did not differ between the two groups of plants. Fluorescence measurements revealed some ability of leaves to acclimate to both shade and sun, although some evidence for photoinhibition (photoprotection) was observed in more exposed plants. Despite the latter, both exposed and shaded plants exhibited CAM, measured as diel fluctuations in leaf acidity, and CAM was more consistently found in the exposed plants. Further-more, some evidence for more CAM at higher light availabilities was found. Overall, the results of this investigation reveal that H. carnosa in this subtropical rain forest in Taiwan exhibits adaptations to both high and low light levels, which should prove adaptive for an epiphytic vine with leaves on the same individual exposed to a wide range of exposure and shade in the host tree canopy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-581
Number of pages7
JournalActa Physiologiae Plantarum
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Nov 1



  • Chlorophyll
  • Crassulacean acid metabolism
  • Epiphyte
  • Evolution
  • Fluorescence
  • Hoya carnosa
  • Photoinhibition
  • Subtropics
  • Sun/shade adaptation
  • Vine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science

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