, Volume 87, Issue 1, pp 36–48

Stomatal responses to changes in atmospheric humidity and water supply: Experiments with leaf sections of Zea mays in CO2-free air


  • K. Raschke
    • Botanisches Institut der Universität Gießen
    • MSU/AEC Plant Research LaboratoryMichigan State University
  • U. Kühl
    • Botanisches Institut der Universität Gießen

DOI: 10.1007/BF00386962

Cite this article as:
Raschke, K. & Kühl, U. Planta (1969) 87: 36. doi:10.1007/BF00386962


Leaf sections were exposed to CO2-free air, thus excluding interference by the CO2-sensitive system in the guard cells. Stomates did not close in response to change from moist to dry air, whether it passed over the leaf or was forced through the intercelluar spaces. In contrast, the stomatal apertures became narrower if the water potential in the liquid supplying the leaf was lowered. Of solutions with the same osmolality, those with the higher viscosity produced the larger responses.

Transient stomatal movements in the opposite direction to the final response were observed upon any sudden change in the water status of the leaf sections, whether caused by varying the moisture content of the air passing around or through the leaf sections, or by varying the water supply. Increased load on the water supply caused temporary opening movements, while improvements in water supply led to closing movements of varying duration. When dry air was forced through the leaf sections, non-sinusoidal oscillations with large amplitudes were sometimes observed.

It is concluded that the guard cells are tightly coupled to the water-supply system of the leaf and only indirectly to the conditions in the atmosphere by a negative feedback of transpiration on the water potential in the water-conducting system.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1969