To better understand the poor regulation of water loss after leaf development at high relative air humidity (RH), the relative importance of the physiological and anatomical components was analyzed focusing on cultivars with a contrasting sensitivity to elevated RH. The stomatal responsiveness to three closing stimuli (desiccation, abscisic acid feeding, light/dark transition), as well as several stomatal features (density, index, size and pore dimensions) and the cuticular transpiration rate (CTR) were determined in four rose cultivars, grown under moderate (60%) and high (95%) RH. Moreover, the effects of changes in stomatal density and pore dimensions on the stomatal conductance (gs) were quantified using a modified version of the Brown and Escombe equation. Higher water loss, as a result of plant growth at high RH, was primarily caused by an increase in residual gs, and to a lesser extent due to higher CTR. It was estimated that in leaflets subjected to desiccation the enhanced gs in high RH- as compared to moderate RH-grown plants was mostly due to poor stomatal functionality and to a lesser extent the combined result of higher stomatal density and longer pore length. It is concluded that the reduced degree and, specially, the reduced rate of stomatal closure are the primary causes of the large genotypic variation in the control of water loss in high RH-grown plants. Furthermore, it was found that although changes in stomatal length have no influence on stomatal functionality, changed anatomical features per se represent a significant and direct contribution to the increased water loss.
- Residual stomatal transpiration
- Rosa hybrida
- Stomatal anatomy
- Stomatal aperture
- Stomatal malfunctioning