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Am J Bot. 1999 Mar;86(3):367-71.

Effects of environmental factors on development of wood.

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Department of Botany, University of Texas, Austin, Texas 78713.


This research tested the hypothesis that environmental factors (light, water, and nutrient levels) affect wood development. Specimens were placed in treatments of low, medium, or high levels of light, water, nitrogen, or phosphorus for one year. Control plants received medium levels of all factors, while experimental plants received medium levels of all factors except the experimental factor; for example, "high light" treatment consisted of high light but medium levels of water, nitrogen, and phosphorus. Some character changes seen in Cereus peruvianus were a reduction in mean vessel diameter and shoot elongation as a result of low nitrogen and low phosphorus treatments and a reduction in mean vessel density due to low light; high water induced broader vessels and greater shoot elongation. In Cereus tetragonus, low water treatment caused a reduction in mean vessel diameter, and high nitrogen decreased the amount of wood produced. Whereas all characters studied showed a significant correlation with at least one treatment in one species, few characters responded similarly between species. Estimated specific conductivity of wood could be altered by treatments affecting either vessel density or vessel diameter strongly or by treatments affecting both diameter and density weakly. Under the conditions tested, wood structure was stable but estimated conducting capacity was more flexible.

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