Leaf hydraulic conductivity and stomatal responses to humidity in amphistomatous leaves


K. Mott. Fax: 1 435 797 1575; e-mail: kmott@biology.usu.edu


The response of stomata to changes in humidity for a single surface of an amphistomatous leaf was investigated in Xanthium strumarium and Vicia faba using gas exchange and direct observation of stomatal apertures. The stomatal response to humidity for a given surface was found to be the same whether or not the humidity for the opposite surface was changed concurrently. Stomata on the surface for which humidity was constant showed no response to changes in humidity for the opposite surface. Despite large changes in epidermal turgor on the surface for which humidity was changed, there was no change in epidermal turgor for the surface with constant humidity. Measurements of transpiration and epidermal turgor as functions of the mole fraction gradient of water between leaf and air were used to calculate a value for leaf hydraulic resistance. The results suggest that in these species, the mechanism for the stomatal response to humidity resides in the epidermis or the mesophyll very close to the epidermis, and that most of the hydraulic resistance of the leaf occurs between the xylem and the evaporating sites.