Axial vessel widening in arborescent monocots uri icon

abstract

  • Dicotyledons have evolved a strategy to compensate for the increase in hydraulic resistance to water transport with height growth by widening xylem conduits downwards. In monocots, the accumulation of hydraulic resistance with height should be similar, but the absence of secondary growth represents a strong limitation for the maintenance of xylem hydraulic efficiency during ontogeny. The hydraulic architecture of monocots has been studied but it is unclear how monocots arrange their axial vascular structure during ontogeny to compensate for increases in height. We measured the vessel lumina and estimated the hydraulic diameter (Dh) at different heights along the stem of two arborescent monocots, Bactris gasipaes (Kunth) and Guadua angustifolia (Kunth). For the former, we also estimated the variation in Dh along the leaf rachis. Hydraulic diameter increased basally from the stem apex to the base with a scaling exponent (b) in the range of those reported for dicot trees (b?=?0.22 in B. gasipaes; b?=?0.31 and 0.23 in G. angustifolia). In B. gasipaes, vessels decrease in Dh from the stem's centre towards the periphery, an opposite pattern compared with dicot trees. Along the leaf rachis, a pattern of increasing Dh basally was also found (b?=?0.13). The hydraulic design of the monocots studied revealed an axial pattern of xylem conduits similar to those evolved by dicots to compensate and minimize the negative effect of root-to-leaf length on hydrodynamic resistance to water flow

publication date

  • 2014
  • 2014