, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 220–226 | Cite as

Resistance to water flow in xylem of Picea abies (L.) Karst. trees grown under contrasting light conditions

  • Arne Sellin


The relative hydraulic conductivity (k) of xylem and resistance (R) to water flow through trunk, primary roots and branches in Picea abies trees growing under contrasting light conditions were investigated. The xylem permeability to water was measured by forcing 10 mM water solution of KC1 through excised wood specimens. From the values of k, the sapwood transverse area and the length of conducting segments, R of the whole trunk, branches and roots was calculated. The relative conductivity of xylem in open-grown trees exceeded that of shade-grown trees by 1.4–3.1 times, while k was closely correlated with the hydraulically effective radius (Re) of the largest tracheids (R2 was 0.85–0.94 for open- and 0.51–0.79 for shade-grown trees). Because of both a low k and a smaller sapwood area in shade-grown trees the resistance to water movement through their trunk, roots and branches was many times higher. The distribution of R between single segments of the water-conducting pathway differed considerably in trees from different sites. At high water status the largest share of the total resistance in open- as well as shade-grown trees resides in the apical part of the trunk. The contribution of the branches to total xylem resistance is supposed to increase with developing water deficit.

Key words

Picea abies Xylem Relative hydraulic conductivity Resistance to water flow Tracheid radius 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arne Sellin
    • 1
  1. 1.Chair of Plant EcophysiologyTartu UniversityTartuEstonia

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