, Volume 215, Issue 3, pp 466–471

Xylem embolism and drought-induced stomatal closure in maize

  • Hervé Cochard
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00425-002-0766-9

Cite this article as:
Cochard, H. Planta (2002) 215: 466. doi:10.1007/s00425-002-0766-9


Water relations during drought and xylem vulnerability to embolism were studied on four maize (Zeamays L.) genotypes having contrasting grain yields under drought conditions. Drought provoked a drop in xylem pressure, leaf water potential and whole-plant transpiration. Transpiration was reduced to a minimum value when xylem pressures reached ca. –1.6 MPa. This value corresponded to the threshold xylem pressure below which xylem embolism developed to a substantial degree in leaf midribs. Therefore, xylem embolism always remained low in leaf veins, even when plants exhibited clear water-stress symptoms. This suggests that stomatal closure during drought contains xylem embolism to a minimum value. Cavitation resistance was not related to grain yield under drought conditions for the four genotypes evaluated. However, it can be speculated that an increase in cavitation resistance by cultural practices or genetic selection may increase drought survival in maize.

Cavitation Hydraulic conductance Stomata Water potential Water stress Zea (water relations)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hervé Cochard
    • 1
  1. 1.UMR-PIAF, INRA-Université Blaise-Pascal, site INRA de Crouelle, 234 av. du Brezet, 63039 Clermont-Ferrand, France