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The potential information in polarization data of both single leaves and plant canopies is investigated. Measurements demonstrate the relationship between polarization data and various optical and botanical properties of both pieces of foliage and plant canopies. The results provide a basis for gaining fundamental understanding of how light is scattered and polarized by a plant canopy. The results show the polarized and nonpolarized portions of the light scattered by a remotely sensed ground scene potentially are independent sources of information for discriminating species and assessing the condition of plant canopies.