eCite Digital Repository

From desert to rainforest, sapwood width is similar in the widespread conifer Callitris columellaris


Prior, LD and Brodribb, TJ and Tng, DYP and Bowman, DMJS, From desert to rainforest, sapwood width is similar in the widespread conifer Callitris columellaris, Trees: Structure and function, 27, (1) pp. 123-129. ISSN 0931-1890 (2013) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00468-012-0779-3


The process that transforms conductive sapwood to non-conductive heartwood in trees is poorly understood. Here, we use natural variation in climate to examine the environmental control of sapwood width in a widespread conifer species. We hypothesised that if sapwood width is linked to transpirational load, there would be a positive association between sapwood width, and continental gradients in mean annual rainfall, whereas agerelated conversion to heartwood would be revealed from estimates of the age of the inner-most sapwood ring. Using the widespread Australian conifer Callitris columellaris we took cores from trees at 85 sites spanning a range of 168–2,117 mm in mean annual rainfall, and 14–28 C in mean annual temperature. We found that sapwood width was remarkably similar throughout the species range, being only slightly lower in the tropics than the arid or temperate zone. There was a weak negative relationship between sapwood width and mean annual rainfall, which is in the opposite direction expected from transpirational control of sapwood width. Sapwood growth rings were wider, but there were fewer of them in the tropics than elsewhere, indicating conversion to heartwood occurred earlier here. Together with an earlier finding that tracheid diameter was largest in the tropics, our results show that differences amongst climate zones more strongly influence the hydraulic properties of sapwood than its amount.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:climate; Cupressaceae; xylem anatomy; tracheid diameter
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Ecological physiology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Prior, LD (Dr Lynda Prior)
UTAS Author:Brodribb, TJ (Professor Tim Brodribb)
UTAS Author:Tng, DYP (Dr David Tng)
UTAS Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
ID Code:80606
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2012-11-05
Last Modified:2017-11-01

Repository Staff Only: item control page