The relative importance of cotyledons and leaves for seedling survival was evaluated using a factorial field experiment on three neotropical tree species with contrasting cotyledon functional morphologies (photosynthetic, epigeal reserve vs. hypogeal reserve). In all species, cotyledon and leaf removal shortly after leaf expansion had additive negative effects on seedling survival over 7 weeks. Carbon supplies from cotyledons and other carbohydrate reserves apparently enhanced ability of seedlings to cope with herbivory and disease.
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