Tissue-water relations were used to characterize the responses of two Mediterranean co-occurring woody species (Quercus ilex L. and Phillyrea latifolia L.) to seasonal and experimental drought conditions. Soil water availability was reduced ∼15% by partially excluding rain throughfall and lateral flow (water runoff). Seasonal and experimental drought elicited physiological and morphological adaptations other than osmotic adjustment: both species showed large increases in cell-wall elasticity and decreased saturated-to-dry-mass ratio. Increased elasticity (lower elastic modulus) resulted in concurrent decreases in relative water content at turgor loss. In addition, P. latifolia showed significant increases in apoplastic water fraction. Decreased saturated-to-dry-mass ratio and increased apoplastic water fraction were accompanied by an increased range of turgor maintenance, which indicates that leaf sclerophyllous traits might be advantageous in drier scenarios. In contrast, the degree of sclerophylly (as assessed by the leaf mass-to-area ratio) was not related to tissue elasticity. An ∼15% reduction in soil water availability resulted in significant reductions in diameter growth when compared to control plants in both species. Moreover, although P. latifolia underwent larger changes in tissue water-related traits than Q. ilex in response to decreasing water availability, growth was more sensitive to water stress in P. latifolia than in Q. ilex. Differences in diameter growth between species might be partially linked to the effects of cell-wall elasticity and turgor pressure on growth, since Q. ilex showed higher tissue elasticity and higher intrinsic tolerance to water deficit (as indicated by lower relative water content at turgor loss) than P. latifolia. © The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer-Verlag 2005.
|Journal||Journal of Plant Research|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Aug 2005|
- Drought stress
- Elastic and osmotic adjustments
- Phillyrea latifolia
- Quercus ilex