Drought tolerance: higher stomata density and smaller guard cell length

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Adansonia digitata Baobab-2.jpg

Variation in baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) leaf morphology and its relation to drought tolerance

Sanchez C. A., Haq N., Assogbadjo A.E. (2010)

Cuni A. Sanchez, Haq N. and Assogbadjo A.E.

in Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution, 57, (1), 17-25 – 

http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/73975/ 

Abstract

The baobab tree (Adansonia digitata L.) is a valued savannah tree. Although variation in fruit characteristics of this tree have been studied, no studies to our knowledge have been carried out on variation of leaf morphology which can be linked to drought adaptation mechanisms.

Accessions of baobab from different ecosystems in Benin were characterised for leaf size and thickness, stomata size and density on the abaxial surface of leaves.

Significant variation was found in leaf size and stomata characteristics. Trees from northern study sites had higher stomata density and smaller guard cell length than those from southern study sites.

The results show that pruning has a significant effect on leaf size, but not on stomatal characteristics. Trees from northern study sites showed more xerophytic characteristics than those from the south.

It seems that genetic and physiological effects may play a role in baobab drought adaptation.

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Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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