When Water Availability Is Low, Two Mediterranean Salvia Species Rely on Root Hydraulics

Plants (Basel). 2021 Sep 13;10(9):1888. doi: 10.3390/plants10091888.


Increase in severity and frequency of drought events is altering plant community composition, exposing biomes to a higher risk of biodiversity losses. This is exacerbated in the most fragile areas as Mediterranean biome. Thus, identifying plant traits for forecasting species with a high risk of drought-driven mortality is particularly urgent. In the present study, we investigated the drought resistance strategy of two Mediterranean native species: Salvia ceratophylloides Ard. (Sc) and Salvia officinalis L. (So) by considering the impact of drought-driven water content decline on plant hydraulics. Well-watered samples of Sc displayed higher leaf and stemsaturated water content and lower shoot biomass than So samples, but similar root biomass. In response to drought, Sc showed a conservative water use strategy, as the prompt stomatal closure and leaves shedding suggested. A drought-tolerant mechanism was confirmed in So samples. Nevertheless, Sc and So showed similar drought-driven plant hydraulic conductance (Kplant) recover ability. Root hydraulic traits played a key role to reach this goal. Relative water content as well as loss of cell rehydration capability and membrane damages, especially of stem and root, were good proxies of drought-driven Kplant decline.

PMID:34579421 | DOI:10.3390/plants10091888


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