The stem water conducting system of an evergreen broad-leaved oak, Lithocarpus edulis (Mak.) Nakai, was investigated. Evergreen broad-leaved oaks (Lithocarpus, Castanopsis, Cyclobalanopsis, Quercus) belonging to the Quercoideae are a major component of Asian monsoon forests, and are characterized by the possession of radial-porous wood. A characteristic of radial-porous wood is the development of aggregate rays between radially oriented files of vessels. We measured the distribution of vessel lumen diameters in a stem cross section and calculated the theoretical water conductivity of the wood. The radial profile of the heat pulse velocity (HPV) was measured for an intact whole tree under field conditions and compared with the theoretical distribution of water conductivity. Soft X-ray photographs of frozen stem sections indicated that most of the vessel lumina were filled with water, including those of vessels more than 20 years old. Even when vessels were relatively wide (lumen diameters > 100 μm), cavitation was negligible. The rate of water uptake from the cut stem base correlated closely with HPV (r = 0.96), and HPV closely reflected the mean volume flow per stem sectional area (SFVs) around the sensor probes. However, the ray tissue sharply inhibited heat transfer, and the positioning of the probes strongly affected the absolute value of HPV. It was also found that HPV more closely reflected the mean sap flow velocity in the vessels than did SFVs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science