Photosynthetic characteristics of an endangered species Camellia nitidissima and its widespread congener Camellia sinensis

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Saturation (SI) and compensation (CI) irradiances [μmol(photon) m−2 s−1] were 383.00±18.40 and 12.95±0.42 for wild C. nitidissima (in mid-July) and 691.00±47.39 and 21.91±1.28 for wild C. sinensis, respectively. C. nitidissima is a shade tolerant species, whereas C. sinensis has a wide ecological range of adaptability to irradiance. Both wild and cultivated C. nitidissima demonstrated low maximum net photosynthetic rate, maximum carboxylation rate, maximum electron transfer rate, and SI, which indicated low photosynthesis ability of leaves that were unable to adapt to strong irradiance environment. Both C. nitidissima and C. sinensis demonstrated strong photosynthetic adaptabilty in new environments. Hence proper shading may raise photosynthetic efficiency of cultivated C. nitidissima and promote its growth.

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