, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 421–433 | Cite as

Vertical and radial profiles in tracheid characteristics along the trunk of Douglas-fir trees with implications for water transport

Original Paper


The main stems of three young Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii (Mirbel) Franco) trees were dissected to obtain samples of secondary xylem from internodes axially along the trunk and radially within each internode. From these samples, measurements were obtained of tracheid diameter, length, the number of inter-tracheid pits per tracheid, and the diameter of the pit membranes. In addition, samples were obtained along the trunks of three old growth trees and also a small sample of roots for measurement of tracheid diameter. A gradient was apparent in all measured anatomical characters vertically along a sequence among the outer growth rings. These gradients arose not because of a gradient vertically along the internodes, but because of the strong gradients present at each internode among growth rings out from the pith. Tracheid characteristics were correlated: wider and longer tracheids had more numerous pits and wider pits, such that total pit area was about 6% of tracheid wall area independent of tracheid size. A stem model combining growth rings in parallel and internodes in series allowed for estimates of whole trunk conductance as a function of tree age. Conductance of the stem (xylem area specific conductivity) declined during the early growth of the trees, but appeared to approach a stable value as the trees aged.


Bordered pit Conductance Resistance Tracheid anatomy Xylem 

Supplementary material

468_2011_603_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (19 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 19 kb)
468_2011_603_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (115 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 114 kb)
468_2011_603_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (127 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (PDF 126 kb)
468_2011_603_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (75 kb)
Supplementary material 4 (PDF 75 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life SciencesUniversity of NevadaLas VegasUSA

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