Leaf expansion of four sunflower (Helianthus annuus L) cultivars in relation to water deficits. I. Patterns during plant development


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Abstract. The influence of a slow stress and recovery cycle on the pattern of leaf expansion in four diverse sunflower cultivars (Helianthus annuus L. cvs. Hysun 31, Havasupai, Hopi and Seneca) was studied in a glasshouse. Stress had no significant effect on the time of flower bud emergence and anthesis, or on final leaf number, but delayed the appearance of leaves at high insertions in all cultivars except Hysun 31. Leaf expansion was markedly reduced as the predawn leaf water potential decreased from −0.35 to −0.60 MPa, and the predawn turgor pressure decreased from 0.3 to 0.2 MPa, and expansion ceased at a predawn leaf water potential of about −1.0 MPa, i.e. when the predawn turgor pressure reached zero. The leaves most reduced in final size when water was withheld were those at the insertions which grew the most rapidly in unstressed plants. The maximum reduction in final leaf size of 25–35% was similar in all cultivars and was due to retardation of the rate of leaf expansion: the duration of leaf expansion was actually increased by stress. However, leaves that were initiated during stress, but emerged after rewatering, had final leaf areas at least equal to those in the unstressed plants: in the cultivar Seneca, the final size of leaves of high insertion was significantly greater in stressed than unstressed plants, whereas in the three other cultivars the final leaf sizes were similar in both treatments. All four cultivars examined adjusted osmotically to the same degree, but leaf water potentials in one, Seneca, increased more rapidly after rewatering than in the other three, and this may have contributed to the greater relative leaf size in the leaves of high insertion in this cultivar.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-407
Number of pages9
JournalPlant, Cell & Environment
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes


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