Photos from the Field: Red Coloration in Tropical Leaves and Reduced Fungal Pathogen Damage
Tellez, Rojas and Van Bael (2016). Red coloration in young tropical leaves associated with reduced fungal pathogen damage. Biotropica, 48: 150–153. doi: 10.1111/btp.12303
The adaptive significance of red coloration in tropical forest leaves remains unclear. In vivo assays show that there is a significant negative correlation between anthocyanin pigments in young leaves and fungal pathogen damage. This supports a previous hypothesis that anthocyanins may protect young leaves from fungal damage during the vulnerable period of leaf expansion.