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Solute Accumulation in Leaves and Roots of Woody Plants Subjected to Water Stress

O. Osonubi and W. J. Davies
Oecologia
Vol. 32, No. 3 (1978), pp. 323-332
Published by: Springer in cooperation with International Association for Ecology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4215578
Page Count: 10
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Solute Accumulation in Leaves and Roots of Woody Plants Subjected to Water Stress
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Abstract

Young seedlings of English Oak, Quercus robur L., and Silver Birch, Betula verrucosa Ehrl., were subjected to a number of consecutive periods during which water was withheld. During one 14-day period leaf- and soil-water potentials and leaf- and root-solute potentials of two groups of plants were sampled at noon of each day. One group of plants was watered every day while water was withheld from the other group. Solute accumulation in roots and leaves of oak seedlings subjected to water stress resulted in maintenance of turgor and high leaf conductance as the soil dried. In birch seedlings turgor was only maintained by stomatal closure at high soil water potential. Fourteen consecutive water stress cycles greatly reduced the growth of birch seedlings but had little effect on oak seedlings other than to alter root morphology. Water stress treatment resulted in the production of long thin roots in this plant. Stomatal behaviour in oak and birch seedlings during the 14-week stress period was consistent with observed changes in leaf water and solute potentials. Daily solute accumulation in oak leaves was presumably responsible for the maintenance of plant growth as water potentials fell.

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