Water transport properties of vine and tree stems in a tropical deciduous forest

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American Journal of Botany


Excised stem segments of vines had higher specific hydraulic conductivities (flow rate per pressure gradient per stem transverse area) than did trees during the dry season in a deciduous forest in Jalisco, Mexico. Vine species averaged from 2.7 to 203 x 10 -3 m2 MPa -1 s -1 and tree species from 0.8 to 5.1 x 10 -3 m2 MPa -1 s -1 . Only three of the 20 species retain their leaves during part or all of the dry season, and these included the vine and the tree with the lowest conductivities within their growth forms. An index of the mean diameter of the six widest vessels per sample was positively and significantly correlated with specific conductivity for the vines but not the trees. Stem density (g cm -3 , dry weight/wet volume) was not correlated with either specific conductivity or vessel diameter index for vines or trees.