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Coordinated plasticity maintains hydraulic safety in sunflower leaves


Cardoso, AA and Brodribb, TJ and Lucani, CJ and DaMatta, FM and McAdam, SAM, Coordinated plasticity maintains hydraulic safety in sunflower leaves, Plant, Cell and Environment, 41, (11) pp. 2567-2576. ISSN 0140-7791 (2018) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

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.

DOI: doi:10.1111/pce.13335


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 Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:cavitation, herbaceous species, osmotic adjustment, stomatal movement, xylem vulnerability
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Plant biology
Research Field:Plant physiology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Cardoso, AA (Ms Amanda Cardoso)
UTAS Author:Brodribb, TJ (Professor Tim Brodribb)
UTAS Author:Lucani, CJ (Mr Christopher Lucani)
ID Code:126299
Year Published:2018
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP170100761)
Web of Science® Times Cited:50
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2018-06-04
Last Modified:2019-03-22
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