How flowers maintain water balance across different angiosperm branches

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Flowers play an essential role in maintaining a species’ genetic stability. Understanding how flowers regulate water use strategies to adapt to their environment is crucial for better understanding floral evolution and plant-pollinator-environment interactions. However, the mechanisms by which flowers maintain water balance are poorly understood across angiosperm branches.

In a study published in Plant Biology, researchers from the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences investigated the differences in flower water use strategies between basal angiosperms and derived groups (monocots and dicots).

They measured 29 floral traits related to water transport, storage, and loss in 24 species from the ANA [Amborellales (A), Nymphaeales (N), Austroballeyales (A)] grade, magnoliids, monocots, and eudicots.

They found that there is a strong relationship between flower hydraulic structure and function, but this relationship differs between basal angiosperms and monocots/eudicots. Basal angiosperms exhibited floral traits associated with higher water and carbon costs, such as petal stomatal density, stomatal pore area index, pedicel hydraulic diameter, maximum vessel diameter, and theoretical hydraulic conductivity.


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