Virtual Museum of Canada
Jardin botanique de Montréal 
Centre for Forest Research

Transcription of video clip Trees and light

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Ramification of trees according to light availability

These poplars have identical growing conditions, except for the light they receive.

Only the upper portion of this tapered poplar received light as it grew.

This majestic specimen grew in an open setting. Its ramification took full advantage of abundant light.

Graphic representation of poplars based upon mathematical growth models

© Philippe DeReffye, MengZhen Kang
These poplar shapes vary depending upon the available light.

These poplars exhibit varied architecture, but all follow the same imperative. They must adapt to their environment in order to capture the maximum amount of light possible.

Graphic representation of four poplar with heteregeneous crowns

© Philippe DeReffye, MengZhen Kang
Four shape variations

This tapered, almost rachitic poplar may be growing in a dense forest.

On the other hand, this majestic poplar may be in the middle of a field.

Through plasticity of form, trees optimize their use of the light energy available in their environment.

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