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Forest Vines to Snow Tussocks: The Story of New Zealand Plants

Leaf size

Leaf size

The average leaf size is considerably less in the New Zealand conifer broadleaf than in tropical rain forest. This can be demonstrated by comparing the species of a far northern New Zealand forest with a Philippines forest in terms of a now widely accepted leaf size classification.
Philippines Forest21
Species with macrophylls (leaves 18-60 cm long*)10%
Species with mesophylls (leaves 6-18 cm long)86%
Species with microphylls (leaves 2-6 cm long)4%
New Zealand Forest22
Species with macrophylls1%
Species with mesophylls25%
Species with microphylls68%
Species with nanophylls (leaves 1-2 cm long)6%

The smaller leaf sizes in New Zealand probably correlate with lower temperatures.23