Angiosperm Flora of India

The impact of long-term water stress on relative growth rate and morphology of needles and shoots of Metasequoia glyptostroboides seedlings: research toward identifying mechanistic models

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2011
Authors:Zhang, Y, Equiza, MAlejandra, Zheng, Q, TYREE, MELVINT
Journal:Physiologia Plantarum
Date Published:2011
ISBN Number:1399-3054

Leaf morphology in the upper canopy of trees tends to be different from that lower down. The effect of long-term water stress on leaf growth and morphology was studied in seedlings of Metasequoia glyptostroboides to understand how tree height might affect leaf morphology in larger trees. Tree height increases water stress on growing leaves through increased hydraulic resistance to water flow and increased gravitational potential, hence we assume that water stress imposed by soil dehydration will have an effect equivalent to stress induced by height. Seedlings were subjected to well-watered and two constant levels of long-term water stress treatments. Drought treatment significantly reduced final needle count, area and mass per area (leaf mass area, LMA) and increased needle density. Needles from water-stressed plants had lower maximum volumetric elastic modulus (εmax), osmotic potential at full turgor ( and at zero turgor ( than those from well-watered plants. Palisade and spongy mesophyll cell size and upper epidermal cell size decreased significantly in drought treatments. Needle relative growth rate, needle length and cell sizes were linear functions of the daily average water potential at the time of leaf growth (r2 0.88–0.999). We conclude that water stress alone does mimic the direction and magnitude of changes in leaf morphology observed in tall trees. The results are discussed in terms of various models for leaf growth rate.

Short Title:Physiologia Plantarum
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