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Wood Anatomy of Capparis Spinosa from an Ecological Perspective

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Root and stern wood of the Mediterranean summergreen Capparis spinosa L. was studied. Wood anatomical features favour high hydraulic conductivity, which is necessary for maintaining the high midday stomatal conductance and rates of photosynthesis observed in this plant. Xylem conduits of both stern and root consist of wide and short vessel elements with simple perforation plates. Vessel grouping in the stern secures xylem safety against cavitations. The plant would be highly vulnerable to cavitations due to freezing conditions, although these are rare during the Mediterranean winter. Thus, the anatomical features of the plant, which does not seem to suffer from water stress though growing entirely during the Mediterranean summer drought, are compatible with its adaptive strategy. The significant amount of minerals found in the root vessels, and the abundant starch grains of the wood might be involved in a possible osmotic shifting of water in the xylem.


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