, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 62-65

Stomatal closure with soil water depletion not associated with changes in Bulk leaf water status

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It has previously been reported that canopy water loss by cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) decreases with small depletions in soil water. In these studies, under field conditions, it was demonstrated that with small changes in soil water status leaf conductance of cowpea decreases in a manner which is consistent with the sensitive regulation of canopy water loss.

However, treatments which differed in leaf conductance, and presumably stomatal aperture, had similar leaf water potentials. It is hypothesized that the stomatal closure which results from soil water depletion is mediated by changes in root water status through effects on the flow of information from root to shoot. An efficient mechanism of this type could be partially responsible for the extreme drought avoidance exhibited by this plant.

Dedicated to Dr. K. Springer