Differential effects of temperature on stem length and xylem vessel length distribution in Zinnia elegans

P. Twumasi, J.H.N. Schel, W. van Ieperen

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Water transport in vascular plants depends on the hydraulic conductance of the xylem system, which is dependent on the anatomical properties, number, diameter, and length of the xylem vessels. The ability to transport water through their stems influences not only the growth of many horticultural crops, but also the post-harvest quality of cut flowers. In this study, we investigated the effects of different average daily temperatures (ADT) and the difference between day-time (DT) and night-time (NT) temperature (DIF) on stem size, the length of xylem vessels within the stem, and the length of individual vessel elements within a vessel, in Zinnia elegans. Two Z. elegans cultivars, ‘Envy’ and ‘Purple Prince’, were grown in climate chambers under all nine combinations of three DT and three NT temperatures (viz. 17ºC, 21ºC, or 25ºC). An increase in ADT was positively correlated with the lengths of the stems, internodes, and xylem vessels in both cultivars. However, the lengths of the xylem vessels were influenced more strongly than the lengths of the stems. Increasing the ADT from 17ºC to 25ºC increased stem lengths by approx. 15%, but more than doubled the lengths of the xylem vessels. The increase in xylem vessel lengths was only partly (<10%) due to an increase in the lengths of individual vessel members, which implies that temperature (ADT) had a greater influence on the number of fused vessel elements per xylem vessel. A negative DIF (i.e., lower DT than NT temperatures) decreased stem lengths and a positive DIF increased stem lengths. DIF had no effect on xylem vessel length, probably because, other than in stem length, xylem vessel length was positively correlated with NT temperature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-535
JournalJournal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • tropical lianas
  • woody-plants
  • chrysanthemum
  • dimensions
  • dif

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