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Pit membrane structure is highly variable and accounts for a major resistance to water flow through tracheid pits in stems and roots of two boreal conifer species

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • The flow of xylem sap in conifers is strongly dependent on the presence of a low resistance path through bordered pits, particularly through the pores present in the margo of the pit membrane. A computational fluid dynamics approach was taken, solving the Navier–Stokes equation for models based on the geometry of pits observed in tracheids from stems and roots of Picea mariana (black spruce) and Picea glauca (white spruce). Model solutions demonstrate a close, inverse relationship between the total resistance of bordered pits and the total area of margo pores. Flow through the margo was dominated by a small number of the widest pores. Particularly for pits where the margo component of flow resistance was low relative to that of the torus, pore location near the inner edge of the margo allowed for greater flow than that occurring through similar-sized pores near the outer edge of the margo. Results indicate a surprisingly large variation in pit structure and flow characteristics. Nonetheless, pits in roots have lower resistance to flow than those in stems because the pits were wider and consisted of a margo with a larger area in pores.

  • Date created
    2015
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R34M91R3F
  • License
    © 2015 P.J. Schulte et al. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Schulte, P., Hacke, U., and Schoonmaker, A. (2015). Pit membrane structure is highly variable and accounts for a major resistance to water flow through tracheid pits in stems and roots of two boreal conifer species. New Phytologist, 208(1), 102-113.
  • Link to related item
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/nph.13437