The non-invasive leaf patch clamp pressure (LPCP) probe measures the attenuated pressure of a leaf patch, Pp, in response to an externally applied magnetic force. Pp is inversely coupled with leaf turgor pressure, Pc, i.e. at high Pc values the Pp values are small and at low Pc values the Pp values are high. This relationship between Pc and Pp could also be verified for 2-m tall olive trees under laboratory conditions using the cell turgor pressure probe. When the laboratory plants were subjected to severe water stress (Pc dropped below ca. 50 kPa), Pp curves show reverse diurnal changes, i.e. during the light regime (high transpiration) a minimum Pp value, and during darkness a peak Pp value is recorded. This reversal of the Pp curves was completely reversible. Upon watering, the original diurnal Pp changes were re-established within 2–3 days. Olive trees in the field showed a similar turnover of the shape of the Pp curves upon drought, despite pronounced fluctuations in microclimate. The reversal of the Pp curves is most likely due to accumulation of air in the leaves. This assumption was supported with cross-sections through leaves subjected to prolonged drought. In contrast to well-watered leaves, microscopic inspection of leaves exhibiting inverse diurnal Pp curves revealed large air-filled areas in parenchyma tissue. Significantly larger amounts of air could also be extracted from water-stressed leaves than from well-watered leaves using the cell turgor pressure probe. Furthermore, theoretical analysis of the experimental Pp curves shows that the propagation of pressure through the nearly turgorless leaf must be exclusively dictated by air. Equations are derived that provide valuable information about the water status of olive leaves close to zero Pc.