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Greenhouse-grown cowpeas, Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp., were subjected either to well-watered or to progressive soil drought conditions between 10-40 days after emergence. Stomatal closure was found to correlate with the progressive drying of soil while leaf water potentials were not very different from the well-watered plants. Reduction in leaf turgor resulted in a reduced rate of leaf extension but increased that of root. Stomatal conductance and transpiration rates of soil-drought plants were similar to well-watered plants in the morning, but were greatly reduced in the afternoon till evening. It is suggested that the maintenance of transpiration rates per unit leaf area of soil-drought cowpeas in the morning is due to the reduction in the leaf area per plant and possibly the hydration of the plants in the night through enhanced root growth.
Oecologia © 1985 Springer