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Ecophysiology of cuticular transpiration: comparative investigation of cuticular water permeability of plant species from different habitats

Abstract

Water permeabilities of astomatous, isolated cuticular membranes (CM) of 24 different plants species were measured. Permeances varied from 1.7×10−11 m·s−1 (Vanilla planifolia leaf) up to 2.1×10−9 m·s−1 (Malus cf. domestica fruit) among different plant species, thus covering a range of over 2 orders of magnitude. Ranking of species according to permeances resulted in four distinct groups. The first group, of species with the lowest cuticular transpiration rates, included evergreen species growing in warm dry tropical climates (e.g. Vanilla planifolia and Monstera deliciosa leaves). The second class, with slightly higher water permeabilities, included evergreen species with typical scleromorphic leaf properties, adapted to a typical mediterranean type of climate with a dry period during the year (e.g. Citrus limon and Olea europaea leaves). The third group of species, where the highest leaf cuticular transpiration rates were observed, included deciduous species normally growing in a tempeate climate (e.g. Juglans regia and Forsythia suspensa leaves). Fruit cuticular membranes (CM) made up the fourth group (e.g. Capsicum annuum and Malus cf. domestica fruits), with even higher permeances than leaves of species from group 3. Thus, it appears that the plant species investigated show ecophysiological adaptations to the climatic demands of their natural habitats in cuticular water permeability.

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Correspondence to L. Schreiber.

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Schreiber, L., Riederer, M. Ecophysiology of cuticular transpiration: comparative investigation of cuticular water permeability of plant species from different habitats. Oecologia 107, 426–432 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00333931

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Key words

  • Cuticular transpiration
  • Cuticular wax
  • Isolated cuticular membrane
  • Transport barrier
  • Water permeability