Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 85, Issue 3, pp 437–445 | Cite as

Leaf phytohormone levels and stomatal control in an evergreen woody species under semiarid environment in a Brazilian seasonally dry tropical forest

  • Karla V. Figueiredo-Lima
  • Hiram M. Falcão
  • Gladys F. Melo-de-Pinna
  • Alfonso Albacete
  • Ian C. Dodd
  • André L. Lima
  • Mauro G. Santos
Original paper


Phytohormones are essential for controlling abilities of plant species to overcome stress conditions, and influence some aspects of stomatal control, preventing excessive water loss. This study investigates the correlation between foliar phytohormones levels, water status and stomatal conductance in an evergreen woody species (Cynophalla flexuosa) throughout dry and rainy seasons, and the transition between them. We measured stomatal conductance (gs), xylem branch water potential (Ѱx), and leaf concentration of abscisic acid (ABA), jasmonic acid (JA), salicylic acid (SA) and trans-zeatin (tZ). Stomatal conductance was more sensitive to atmospheric conditions, such as VPD than to soil water balance. However, we found correlation between gs and Ѱx, suggesting that these direct water availability measures were a good proxy to explain gs in C. flexuosa. Moreover, ABA leaf concentration had no effect on gs, but ABA and tZ interaction was important to the phenological behaviour of this species. Cytokinins act in delaying leaf senescence, which is crucial to evergreen species, and it is opposite to ABA’s action. JA also showed a significant interaction to ABA, and kept high foliar level during wet season. ABA levels varied throughout the year, and its concentration itself was less important to gs than the interaction to other phytohormones, such as tZ and JA. In conclusion, although ABA did not directly affect stomatal conductance in C. flexuosa, the interaction between ABA, tZ and JA likely played a role in the regulation of stomatal behavior in this species.


Abscisic acid Caatinga (SDTF) Drought tolerance Jasmonic acid Salicylic acid Ethylene 



The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for the valuable suggestions. K. Figueiredo-Lima thanks the Fundação de Amparo à Ciência e Tecnologia do Estado de Pernambuco (FACEPE) for the scholarship received; and CAPES for the PDSE scholarship to visit Lancaster Environment Centre, in United Kingdom and Departamento de Nutrición Vegetal, in Murcia, Spain. The authors would like to thank the Unidade Acadêmica de Serra Talhada (UFRPE-UAST) for their support in the data collection in the field, and to the Center for Edafología y Biología Aplicado del Segura (CEBAS) and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) for providing all the necessary structure for the phytohormone analysis. M. G. Santos acknowledges CNPq for the fellowship granted.


This study was funded by the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) (CNPq-470247/2013-4); and Fundação de Amparo à Ciência e Tecnologia do Estado de Pernambuco (FACEPE).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest to disclose.

Supplementary material

10725_2018_405_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (18 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 17 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratório de Fisiologia Vegetal, Departamento de BotânicaUniversidade Federal de PernambucoRecifeBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Botânica, Instituto de BiociênciasUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Departamento de Nutrición Vegetal, Centro de Edafología y Biología Aplicada del Segura (CEBAS), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)Campus Universitario de EspinardoEspinardoSpain
  4. 4.The Lancaster Environment CentreLancaster UniversityLancasterUK
  5. 5.Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco (UFRPE), Unidade Acadêmica de Serra Talhada (UAST)Serra TalhadaBrazil

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