Vertical distributions of leaf dry mass (M(d)) and leaf area (A(f)) were related to relative irradiance (I(r); I(r) above the stand = 1) in closed-canopy, old-growth stands of the floodplain forest in southern Moravia composed largely of Quercus, Fraxinus and Tilia species. Foliage area and mass at any given canopy height were converted to solar equivalent leaf area (A(s)) and mass (M(s)) by multiplying actual values at a given level in the canopy by the relative irradiance at that position. Stand leaf area index (LAI) was 5 (7 including shrub and herb layer), and solar equivalent parameters reached about 25% of that amount. In all species, vertical profiles of both relative irradiance and leaf dry mass to area ratio (LMA) were sigmoidal and the two variables were linearly related. The dominant, upper canopy species had a larger proportion of solar equivalent foliage than suppressed understory species. For individual trees of all species, the upper canopy had a larger proportion of solar equivalent foliage than the lower canopy. Light compensation points at both the leaf and whole-tree level were defined according to leaf or tree position, size and structure. I conclude that optimization of A(s) for forest stands may be used as a basis for determining thinning schedules and evaluating tree survival after damage to tree crowns by various factors.