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    Author(s): Melvin T. Tyree; Gustavo Vargas; Bettina M. J. Engelbrecht; Thomas A. Kursar
    Date: 2002
    Source: Journal of Experimental Botany 53(378):2239-3347
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Northeastern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (761.83 KB)


    Studies of the desiccation tolerance of 15-month-old Licania platypus (Hemsl.) Fritsch seedlings were performed on potted plants. Pots were watered to field capacity and then dehydrated for 23-46 d to reach various visible wilting stages from slightly-wilted to dead. Root hydraulic conductance, kr, was measured with a high-pressure flow meter and whole-stem hydraulic conductance, kws, was measured by a vacuum chamber method. Leaf punches were harvested for measurement of leaf water potential by a thermocouple psychrometer and for measurement of fresh and dry-weight. L. platypus was surprisingly desiccation-tolerant, suggesting that most species of central Panama may be well adapted to the seasonality of rainfall in the region. The slightly-wilted stage corresponded to leaf water potentials and relative water contents of -2.7 MPa and 0.85, respectively, but plants did not die until these values fell to -7.5 MPa and 0.14, respectively. As desiccation proceeded kr and kws declined relative to irrigated controls, but kws was more sensitive to desiccation than kr. Values of kws declined by 70-85% in slightly-wilted to dead plants, respectively. By comparison, kr showed no significant change in slightly-wilted plants and fell by about 50% in plants having severely-wilted to dead shoots.

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    Tyree, Melvin T.; Vargas, Gustavo; Engelbrecht, Bettina M. J.; Kursar, Thomas A. 2002. Drought until death do us part: a case study of the desiccation-tolerance of a tropical moist forest seedling-tree, Licania platypus (Hemsl.) Fritsch. Journal of Experimental Botany 53(378):2239-3347

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