Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Diurnal variations in abscisic acid content and stomatal response to applied abscisic acid in leaves of irrigated and non-irrigated Arbutus unedo plants under naturally fluctuating environmental conditions

  • 86 Accesses

  • 33 Citations


Endogenous abscisic acid content (ABA) of Arbutus unedo leaves growing under natural conditions in a macchia near Sobreda, Portugal, was very high (0.25 to 2.3 μg g1 fresh weight). Highest concentrations were found during the very early morning hours and at midday. During the late morning hours and in the late afternoon ABA concentrations decreased to between one-third and one-fourth of peak values. The samples for ABA content were obtained from both irrigated (Ψ between-10 and-25 bar) and non-irrigated plants experiencing natural water stress during the dry season (Ψ of-50 bar). During the course of the measurement day, stomatal conductance was relatively constant and conductance of watered plants was 50 to 100% greater than that of unwatered plants. No clear correlations between ABA content and stomatal conductance and/or xylem water potential were observed. Despite large differences in water potential and differences in degree of stomatal opening, absolute concentrations of ABA were not found to differ.

Small quantities (8–14 pmoles cm2 leaf area) of ABA were applied to leaves of irrigated and non-irrigated Arbutus unedo plants by injection into the petiole. These extremely small ABA doses resulted in transient reductions in stomatal conductance. The effectiveness with which injected ABA closed stomata was highest during the morning and decreased substantially at midday. Increased sensitivity to injected ABA may again occur in the late afternoon but recent measurements suggest that this may depend on long-term drought experience of the plants. The characteristics of the response to injected ABA were similar in irrigated and non-irrigated plants although irrigated plants responded in general more strongly.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Cowan IR, Raven JA, Hartung W, Farquhar GD (1982) A possible role for abscisic acid in coupling stomatal conductance and photosynthetic carbon metabolism in leaves. Austr J Plant Physiol 9:489–498

  2. Esdorn I, Schanze R (1954) Untersuchungen über den Schleim von Calluna vulgaris (L.) Hull. Pharmazie 9:995–1003

  3. Hartung W, Abou-Mandour AA (1980) Abscisic acid in root cultures of Phaseolus vulgaris L. Z Pflanzenphysiol 97:265–269

  4. Henson IE, Alagarswamy G, Mahalakshmi V, Bidinger FR (1982) Diurnal changes in endogenous absicic acid in leaves of pearl millet (Pennisetum americanum (L.) Leeke) under field conditions. J exp Bot 33:416–425

  5. Kannagara T, Durley RC, Simpson GM (1982) Diurnal changes of leaf water potential, abscisic acid, phaseic acid and indole-3-acetic acid in field grown Sorghum bicolor L. Moench. Z Pflanzenphysiol 106:55–61

  6. Kobriger IM, Tibbitts TW, Brenner ML (1982) Diurnal abscisic acid levels of peas grown in a field and in a controlled environment. Plant Physiol (Suppl) 69:38

  7. Lange OL, Tenhunen JD, Braun M (1982) Midday stomatal closure in mediterranean type sclerophylls under simulated habitat conditions in an environmental chamber. I. Comparison of the behavior of various European Mediterranean species. Flora 172:563–579

  8. Lenton IR, Perry VM, Saunders PF (1971) The identification and quantitative analysis of abscisic acid in plant extracts by gas liquid chromatography. Plant 96:271–280

  9. Lösch R, Tenhunen J.D. Pereira JS, Lange OL (1982) Diurnal courses of stomatal resistance and transpiration of wild and cultivated mediterranean perennials at the end of the summer dry season in Portugal. Flora 172:138–160

  10. McMichael BL, Hanny BW (1977) Endogenous levels of abscisic acid in water stressed cotton leaves. Agron J 69:979–982

  11. Pierce M, Raschke K (1981) Synthesis and metabolism of abscisic acid in detached leaves of Phaseolus vulgaris L. after loss and recovery of turgor. Planta 153:156–165

  12. Raschke K (1979) Movements of stomata. In Haupt W, Feinleib ME (eds) Encyclopedia of Plant Physiol, New Series, Volume 7, pp 383–441 Springer Berlin Heidelberg New York

  13. Raschke K, Zeevaart JAD (1976) Abscisic acid content, transpiration and stomatal conductance as related to leaf age in plants of Xanthium strumarium L. Plant Physiol 58:169–174

  14. Tenhunen JD, Lange OL, Braun M, Meyer A, Lösch R, Pereira JS (1980) Midday stomatal closure in Arbutus unedo leaves in a natural macchia and under simulated habitat conditions in an environmental chamber. Oecologia (Berlin) 47:365–367

  15. Tenhunen JD, Lange OL, Pereira JS, Lösch R, Catarino F (1981) Midday stomatal closure in Arbutus unedo leaves: Measurements with a steady-state porometer in the Portuguese evergreen scrub. In Margaris NS, Mooney HA (eds) Components of Productivity of Mediterranean Regions — Basic and Applied Aspects, Junk, The Hague Boston-London pp 61–69

  16. Tenhunen JD, Lange OL Jahner D (1982) The control by atmospheric factors and water stress of midday stomatal closure in Arbutus unedo growing in a natural macchia. Oecologia (Berlin) 55:165–169

  17. Xiloyannis C, Uriu, K, Martin GC (1980) Seasonal and diurnal variations in abscisic acid, water potential and diffusive resistance in leaves from irrigated and non-irrigated peach trees. J Amer Soc Hort Sci 105:412–415

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Wolfram Hartung.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Burschka, C., Tenhunen, J.D. & Hartung, W. Diurnal variations in abscisic acid content and stomatal response to applied abscisic acid in leaves of irrigated and non-irrigated Arbutus unedo plants under naturally fluctuating environmental conditions. Oecologia 58, 128–131 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00384552

Download citation


  • Abscisic Acid
  • Stomatal Conductance
  • Late Afternoon
  • Stomatal Opening
  • Stomatal Response