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Notes: Genetic Variation in Leaf Morphology and Plant and Tissue Water Relations During Drought in Cercis canadensis L.

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Genetic variation in plant and tissue water relations in response to drought, and in leaf morphology, were examined in greenhouse-grown Cercis canadensis L. (eastern redbud) seedlings originating from seed obtained in three contrasting habitats: a relatively xeric Kansas prairie, a Kansas gallery forest understory, and a relatively mesic Indiana understory. Kansas prairie redbud maintained significantly greater leaf conductance (gwv) during a 13-day drought than did Kansas and Indiana understory redbud, despite similar decreases in leaf water potential (Ψleaf) in all three sources. Moreover, Kansas prairie redbud had significantly lower osmotic potentials at full and zero turgor compared to Indiana redbud at both the early and later stages of drought. Kansas understory redbud was the only source to undergo a significant decrease in relative water content at zero turgor and the bulk modulus of elasticity during drought. Kansas prairie redbud leaves were smaller and thicker and had higher specific leaf mass (i.e., more xerophytic) than understory redbud leaves. Kansas understory redbud had intermediate characteristics in terms of gwv; at the early to middle stages of drought, osmotic potentials at high and low Ψleaf and leaf area and thickness compared to Kansas prairie and Indiana understory redbud. These results suggest that genetically controlled physiological and morphological adaptation has occurred in redbud that should facilitate its survival in greatly contrasting habitats. For. Sci. 34(1):200-207.
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Keywords: Ecophysiology; Indiana understory; Kansas prairie; gallery forest; leaf morphology

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: School of Forest Resources, The Pennsylvania State University, 4 Ferguson Building, University Park, PA 16802

Publication date: 1988-03-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.782 (Rank 17/64 in forestry)

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
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