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Ann Bot. 2002 Aug;90(2):157-67.

Biophysical limitation of cell elongation in cereal leaves.

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  • 1Division of Biological Sciences, University of Paisley, Scotland, UK.


Grass leaves grow from the base. Unlike those of dicotyledonous plants, cells of grass leaves expand enclosed by sheaths of older leaves, where there is little or no transpiration, and go through developmental stages in a strictly linear arrangement. The environmental or developmental factor that limits leaf cell expansion must do so through biophysical means at the cellular level: wall-yielding, water uptake and solute supply are all candidates. This Botanical Briefing looks at the possibility that tissue hydraulic conductance limits cell expansion and leaf growth. A model is presented that relates pathways of water movement in the elongation zone of grass leaves to driving forces for water movement and to anatomical features. The bundle sheath is considered as a crucial control point. The relative importance of these pathways for the regulation of leaf growth and for the partitioning of water between expansion and transpiration is discussed.

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