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Katrin Kahlen and Hartmut Stützel

The objective of this study was to estimate geometric attributes and masses of individual cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) organs in situ. Using three-dimensional (3D) digitizing techniques, geometric data were obtained that were used to establish allometric relationships between geometric organ attribute and organ mass. Moreover, the authors were looking for the effects of ontogeny and the influence of environmental factors on the allometric relationships in cucumber. If such an allometric relationship did not exist, they alternatively tested the relationship between organ dry weight and organ number counted from the top of the plant downward. Lastly, they included allometric relationships based on biomechanical approaches focused on lamina mass and petiole attributes. The digitizing method provided accurate data for the calculation of geometric plant part attributes, such as length, area, and volume. Based on these data it was possible to describe the relationships between plant part dry weight and plant part geometry by allometric functions except for internode length. Apart from this exception, two different kinds of allometric equations were used: a simple power function with two parameters and a linear function without intercept. Information about more than one dimension of the considered plant part (e.g., area or volume) led to a simple linear relationship, whereas knowledge of just one dimension, like plant part length, resulted in more complex nonlinear relationships. Ontogeny led, in general, to a reduction in the scaling exponent or in the scaling factor, whereas changes of the environment distributed these values. Considering these effects makes it possible to determine dry matter partitioning on organ scale nondestructively and investigate long-term processes on intact plants.