Water loss regulation to soil drought associated with xylem vulnerability to cavitation in temperate ring-porous and diffuse-porous tree seedlings

Mayumi Ogasa, Naoko H. Miki, Maria Okamoto, Norikazu Yamanaka, Ken Yoshikawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Key message: Sustainable stomatal opening despite xylem cavitation occurs in ring-porous species and stomatal closure prior to cavitation in diffuse-porous species during soil drought. To elucidate the relationship between water loss regulation and vulnerability to cavitation associated with xylem structure, stomatal conductance (g s), defoliation, vulnerability curves, and vessel features were measured on seedlings of ring-porous Zelkova serrata and Melia azedarach, and diffuse-porous Betula platyphylla var. japonica, Cerasus jamasakura and Carpinus tschonoskii. Under prolonged drought conditions, the percentage loss of hydraulic conductivity (PLC) increased and g s decreased gradually with decreasing predawn (Ψpd) or xylem water potential (Ψxylem) in Z. serrata. During the gentle increase of PLC in M. azedarach, g s increased in the early stages of dehydration while leaves were partly shed. A sharp reduction in g s was observed before the onset of an increase in the PLC for drying plants of the three diffuse-porous species, suggesting cavitation avoidance by stomatal regulation. In the ring-porous species, xylem-specific hydraulic conductivity (K s) was higher, whereas the vessel multiple fractions, the ratio of the number of grouped vessels to total vessels, was lower than that in the diffuse-porous species, suggesting that many were distributed as solitary vessels. This may explain the gradual increase in the PLC with decreasing Ψxylem because isolated vessels provide less opportunity for air seeding. Different water loss regulation to soil drought was identified among the species, with potential mechanisms being sustainable gas exchange at the expense of xylem dysfunction or partial leaf shedding, and the avoidance of xylem cavitation by strict stomatal regulation. These were linked to vulnerability to cavitation that appears to be governed by xylem structural properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-469
Number of pages9
JournalTrees - Structure and Function
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • Hydraulic conductivity
  • Leaf shedding
  • Stomatal conductance
  • Water potential
  • Water transport
  • Xylem structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Physiology
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


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