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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Water Management and Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #345171

Research Project: Improving the Sustainability of Irrigated Farming Systems in Semi-Arid Regions

Location: Water Management and Systems Research

Title: A global analysis of vessel diameter, plant height and axial parenchyma patterns in woody angiosperms

item MORRIS, HUGH - Ulm University
item GILLINGHAM, MARK - Ulm University
item PLAVCOA, LENKA - Univerzita Hradec Králové - University Of Hradec Králové
item Gleason, Sean
item OLSON, MARK - Universidad Nacional Autonoma De Mexico
item COOMES, DAVID - University Of Cambridge
item FICHTLER, ESTHER - Gottingen University
item KLEPSCH, MATTHIAS - Ulm University
item MARTINEZ-CABRERA, HUGO - Museo De Múzquiz
item MCGLINN, DANIEL - College Of Charleston
item WHEELER, ELISABETH - North Carolina State University
item ZHENG, JINGMING - Beijing Forestry University
item ZIEMINSKA, KASIA - Harvard University
item JANSEN, STEVEN - Ulm University

Submitted to: Plant, Cell & Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/14/2017
Publication Date: 9/28/2017
Citation: Morris, H., Gillingham, M.A., Plavcoa, L., Gleason, S.M., Olson, M.E., Coomes, D.A., Fichtler, E., Klepsch, M.M., Martinez-Cabrera, H.I., Mcglinn, D.J., Wheeler, E.A., Zheng, J., Zieminska, K., Jansen, S. 2017. A global analysis of vessel diameter, plant height and axial parenchyma patterns in woody angiosperms. Plant, Cell & Environment. 10.1111/pce.13091.

Interpretive Summary: Parenchyma are living tissues within plant xylem (wood). It is thought that these tissues are important for storing water, nutrients, and possibly for facilitating the transport of water through the plant. We tested the hypothesis that parenchyma tissue is associated with the transport of water. More specifically, we tested if the fraction of xylem that is comprised of parenchyma (parenchyma fraction) is related to the size and frequency of the water transport conduits in xylem. Conduit diameter was positively associated with axial parenchyma (parenchyma adjacent to water transporting conduits) as well as the spatial arrangement of this parenchyma fraction. However, ray parenchyma (parenchyma not associated with water-transporting conduits) was not associated with parenchyma fraction. Our results provide evidence that axial and ray parenchyma perform independent functions and that axial parenchyma is likely associated with the transport of water in the xylem of flowering plants.

Technical Abstract: Parenchyma represents a critically important ‘living’ tissue alongside the fibres and vessels in secondary xylem of woody angiosperms. Despite our poor understanding of functional interactions between parenchyma and water transporting vessels, we hypothesize that the large, spatial variation in both cell types are interrelated. Through a modelling approach, we explored the relationship between predominantly axial parenchyma (AP) and vessels, while factoring in ray parenchyma (RP), maximum plant height, and climatic factors by means of a global analysis of 2,332 woody angiosperm species. When factoring in plant height we found that with increasing mean annual temperatures, VD showed a positive correlation with AP fraction and AP spatial arrangement. No correlation occurred between RP and VD, however, which provides evidence for independent functions of AP and RP, and the potential role of axial parenchyma in long-distance water transport.