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Old January 29th, 2012, 10:09 AM
cshillibeer cshillibeer is offline
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Cornus colour and carotenoid pigments

Am I right in assuming that carotenoid pigments are the reason Cornus species have yellow and red bark? I (more or less) understand the photosynthetic function in leaves of biological pigments, but do they serve a similar purpose (if any at all) in the bark?
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Old January 29th, 2012, 03:37 PM
Michael F Michael F is offline
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Re: Cornus colour and carotenoid pigments

Other options to consider include thermoregulation, UV light resistance, and (if combined with toxins) browse prevention (as a visual warning to unpalatability).
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Old January 30th, 2012, 08:44 PM
cshillibeer cshillibeer is offline
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Re: Cornus colour and carotenoid pigments

Thanks for that information. So is it carotenoid? Do you know of any papers on the topic?
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Old January 31st, 2012, 08:21 AM
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Lysichiton Lysichiton is offline
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Re: Cornus colour and carotenoid pigments

I don't know what the actual pigments are in Cornus bark. The Cornus stolinifera stems are showing nicely red around here right now.

There is no photosynthetic function carried out by these bark pigments, to my knowledge. Beta-carotene is part of the photosynthetic "machinery", but this is intracellular in conjunction with the initial capture of light energy mediated by the green pigment, chlorophyll.

However, you'd get a better answer from someone whose plant physiology knowledge is more current that mine.

Michael F. - what ARE the functions of these bark pigments? The explanations in your post don't sound like a good story to me? The most prominent bark colours that I am noticing around here are Salix spp. & Cornus stolinifera, I don't think that either of these are very toxic & I have seen both of them grazed or bark-stripped by animals in the past.
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Old January 31st, 2012, 09:13 AM
Michael F Michael F is offline
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Re: Cornus colour and carotenoid pigments

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lysichiton View Post
Michael F. - what ARE the functions of these bark pigments? The explanations in your post don't sound like a good story to me? The most prominent bark colours that I am noticing around here are Salix spp. & Cornus stolinifera, I don't think that either of these are very toxic & I have seen both of them grazed or bark-stripped by animals in the past.
In Salix spp., prominent bark colours only occur in human-selected cultivars, so you could argue the function is to be pleasing to humans, with humans as the driving force of their evolution. As far as I know, the colours are natural in Cornus stolonifera; if they are not toxic, then seek some other reason. But maybe Homo sapiens-related evolution is active here too.
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Old January 31st, 2012, 11:21 AM
Ron B Ron B is offline
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Re: Cornus colour and carotenoid pigments

Many willows that have not been selected by humans have colorful new shoots on a routine basis.
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Old March 13th, 2013, 03:06 PM
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Daniel Mosquin Daniel Mosquin is offline
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Re: Cornus colour and carotenoid pigments

Over a year late to the conversation, but please see today's Botany Photo of the Day: Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire'
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