Water relations, gas exchange, and growth of resprouts and mature plant shoots of Arbutus unedo L. and Quercus ilex L.

Carles Castell, Jaume Terradas, John D. Tenhunen

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Resprout and mature plant shoot growth, leaf water status and gas exchange behavior, tissue nutrient content, flowering, and production were studied for co-occurring shallow-rooted (Arbutus unedo L.) and deeprooted (Quercus ilex L.) Mediterranean tree species at the Collserola Natural Park in Northeast Spain Resprouts showed higher growth rates than mature plant shoots. During fall, no differences in eco-physiological performance of leaves were found, but mobilization of carbohydrates from burls strongly stimulated growth of fall resprouts compared to spring resprouts, despite low exposed leaf area of the fall shoots. During summer drought, resprouts exhibited improved water status and carbon fixation compared to mature plant shoots. Shoot growth of Q. ilex was apparently extended due to deep rooting so that initial slower growth during spring and early summer as compared to A. unedo was compensated. Tissue nutrient contents varied only slightly and are postulated to be of minor importance in controlling rate of shoot growth, perhaps due to the relatively fertile soil of the site. Fall flowering appeared to inhibit fall shoot growth in A. unedo, but did not occur in Q. ilex. The results demonstrate that comparative examinations utilizing vegetation elements with differing morphological and physiological adaptations can be used to analyze relatively complex phenomena related to resprouting behavior. The studies provide an important multi-dimensional background framework for further studies of resprouting in the European Mediterranean region. © 1994 Springer Verlag.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-211
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 1994


  • Growth
  • Photosynthesis
  • Resprouts
  • Sclerophyll shrubs and trees
  • Water relations


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