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Coordinated plasticity maintains hydraulic safety in sunflower leaves


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Cardoso, AA, Brodribb, TJ ORCID: 0000-0002-4964-6107, Lucani, CJ, DaMatta, FM and McAdam, SAM ORCID: 0000-0002-9625-6750 2018 , 'Coordinated plasticity maintains hydraulic safety in sunflower leaves' , Plant, Cell and Environment , pp. 1-35 , doi: 10.1111/pce.13335.

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The air-seeding threshold water potential establishes a hydraulic limit on the ability of woody species to survive in water-limiting environments, but herbs may be more plastic in terms of their ability to adapt to drying conditions. Here we examined the capacity of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) leaves to adapt to reduced water availability by modifying the sensitivity of xylem and stomata to soil water deficit. We found that sunflower plants grown under water-limited conditions significantly adjusted leaf osmotic potential, which was linked to a prolongation of stomatal opening as soil dried and a reduced sensitivity of photosynthesis to water-stress induced damage. At the same time, the vulnerability of midrib xylem to waterstress induced cavitation was observed to be highly responsive to growth conditions, with water-limited plants producing conduits with thicker cell walls which were more resistant to xylem cavitation. Coordinated plasticity in osmotic potential and xylem vulnerability enabled water-limited sunflowers to safely extract water from the soil, while protecting leaf xylem against embolism. High plasticity in sunflower xylem contrasts with data from woody plants, and may suggest an alternative strategy in herbs.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Cardoso, AA and Brodribb, TJ and Lucani, CJ and DaMatta, FM and McAdam, SAM
Keywords: cavitation, herbaceous species, osmotic adjustment, stomatal movement, xylem vulnerability
Journal or Publication Title: Plant, Cell and Environment
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
ISSN: 0140-7791
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/pce.13335
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Coordinated plasticity maintains hydraulic safety in sunflower leaves which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

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