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ABSTRACT:

Survey of root pressure in tropical vines and woody species

Journal Article

Fisher J; Angeles G; Ewers F; Lopez-Portillo J

1997

International Journal of Plant Sciences

158

44-50

Observations on root pressure were made for 109 species in Costa Pica Mexico and Florida during the rainy season. Native and naturalized species as well as a few outdoor cultivated specimens were used. Predawn guttation was observed in 15 species. Predawn root pressure as evidenced by xylem sap exudation from cut stems was observed in 61 species. Root pressures measured with a bubble manometer ranged from 2 kPa to a maximum of 148 kPa in Cissus (Vitaceae). A broad range of climbing monocotyledons dicotyledons and one fern (Lygodium) displayed root pressure. Root pressures of selected shoots were followed over consecutive days and were highest in the nighttime especially at sunrise. The maximum observed root pressure can raise a capillary water column assuming no resistance to a height of 14.8 m. Although root pressure alone could not refill embolized xylem vessels in tall trees and vines the reduction of xylem sap tension would facilitate the dissolving of gas bubbles and the reestablishment of vessel function at least in the lower parts of the plant or throughout shorter plants.

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The Liana Ecology Project is supported by Marquette University and funded in part by the National Science Foundation.