Spring.wmf (18300 bytes) Plant Physiology (Biology 327)  - Dr. Stephen G. Saupe;  College of St. Benedict/ St. John's University;  Biology Department; Collegeville, MN  56321; (320) 363 - 2782; (320) 363 - 3202, fax;    ssaupe@csbsju.edu

Tracing Technique for Measuring Leaf Area   

    There are a variety of ways to measure leaf surface area including using a leaf area meter or scanning the leaves into a computer and then analyzing the images with special software.  The Tracing Technique is a simple, low-budget method that compares a paper replica of the surface to be measured to a standard of known area.  

  1. Accurately trace on paper the outline of the leaflet.  Be sure to keep the leaf flat during when tracing.

  2. Cut out the tracing(s) and accurately weigh.

  3. Weigh a piece of paper of known dimension (100 mm x 100 mm is convenient; the size isn't too important as long as it isn't too small and you know it's area ).

  4. Calculate the conversion factor by dividing the area of the paper by its weight.  The units will be mm2  gm-1.  

  5. Using the conversion factor, determine the leaf area by multiplying the conversion factor times weight of the paper tracing according to the following equation:

leaf area (mm2) = weight of leaf tracing (g)  x  conversion factor (mm2  gm-1)


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Last updated:  01/07/2009     � Copyright  by SG Saupe