, Volume 32, Issue 6, pp 1573–1582 | Cite as

Roles of major and minor vein in leaf water deficit tolerance and structural properties in 11 temperate deciduous woody species

  • Kiyosada KawaiEmail author
  • Naoki Okada
Original Article


Key message

Minor vein traits have a stronger association with leaf water deficit tolerance and structural properties than major veins in deciduous woody species.


Hierarchical leaf venation commonly occurs in angiosperms, with veins of different orders. Physiological roles and costs of minor veins (> third order) are well documented; however, those of major veins (first to third order) remain unknown. Here, we investigated whether major veins are related to leaf-level water deficit tolerance and structural properties in 11 deciduous woody species from a cool temperate forest. The density of major and minor veins was negatively correlated with leaf water potential at turgor loss across species. Minor vein density was positively correlated with lamina tissue density and leaf dry matter content. Thicker minor vein was associated with higher leaf construction cost and fracture resistance. However, there was no associations between major vein abundance and most of leaf structural properties. Major and minor vein densities were positively correlated. Our study demonstrated that minor veins have a greater association with leaf water deficit tolerance and structural properties than major veins in deciduous species; this may be weakened by strong interrelations of different order veins. We also suggest that leaf water deficit tolerance and hydraulic traits vary along the axis independent of the leaf economics spectrum.


Deciduous woody species Leaf economics spectrum Leaf water deficit tolerance Major vein Minor vein Leaf mechanical resistance 



R. Miyoshi and T. Natsume assisted with trait measurement. Y. Onoda allowed us to use the device for the pouch test. Ashiu Forest Research Station, FSERC, allowed us to collect samples. An editor and anonymous reviewer made valuable suggestions to improve the manuscript. The present study was conducted using Cooperative Research Facilities (Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer) of the Center for Ecological Research, Kyoto University.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

468_2018_1734_MOESM1_ESM.docx (28 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 28 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of AgricultureKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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