Leaf Movements of Indoor Plants Monitored by Terrestrial LiDAR

Monica Herrero Huerta, Roderik Lindenbergh, Wolfgang Gard

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Plant leaf movement is induced by some combination of different external and internal stimuli. Detailed geometric characterization of such movement is expected to improve understanding of these mechanisms. A metric high-quality, non-invasive and innovative sensor system to analyze plant movement is Terrestrial LiDAR (TLiDAR). This technique has an active sensor and is, therefore, independent of light conditions, able to obtain accurate high spatial and temporal resolution point clouds. In this study, a movement parameterization approach of leaf plants based on TLiDAR is introduced. For this purpose, two Calathea roseopicta plants were scanned in an indoor environment during 2 full-days, 1 day in natural light conditions and the other in darkness. The methodology to estimate leaf movement is based on segmenting individual leaves using an octree-based 3D-grid and monitoring the changes in their orientation by Principal Component Analysis. Additionally, canopy variations of the plant as a whole were characterized by a convex-hull approach. As a result, 9 leaves in plant 1 and 11 leaves in plant 2 were automatically detected with a global accuracy of 93.57 and 87.34%, respectively, compared to a manual detection. Regarding plant 1, in natural light conditions, the displacement average of the leaves between 7.00 a.m. and 12.30 p.m. was 3.67 cm as estimated using so-called deviation maps. The maximum displacement was 7.92 cm. In addition, the orientation changes of each leaf within a day were analyzed. The maximum variation in the vertical angle was 69.6° from 12.30 to 6.00 p.m. In darkness, the displacements were smaller and showed a different orientation pattern. The canopy volume of plant 1 changed more in the morning (4.42 dm3) than in the afternoon (2.57 dm3). The results of plant 2 largely confirmed the results of the first plant and were added to check the robustness of the methodology. The results show how to quantify leaf orientation variation and leaf movements along a day at mm accuracy in different light conditions. This confirms the feasibility of the proposed methodology to robustly analyse leaf movements.
Original languageEnglish
Article number189
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • leaf movements
  • plants
  • terrestrial LiDAR
  • indoor
  • temporal series
  • OA-Fund TU Delft


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