, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 541–548 | Cite as

Ecophysiological responses of Caragana korshinskii Kom. under extreme drought stress: Leaf abscission and stem survives

  • D. H. Xu
  • X. W. Fang
  • P. X. Su
  • G. Wang


Caragana korshinskii Kom. is a perennial xerophytic shrub, well known for its ability to resist drought. In order to study ecophysiological responses of C. korshinskii under extreme drought stress and subsequent rehydration, diurnal patterns of gas exchange and chlorophyll (Chl) fluorescence parameters of photosystem II as well as Chl content were analyzed. Plant responses to extreme drought included (1) leaf abscission and using stem for photosynthesis, (2) improved instantaneous water-use efficiency, (3) decreased photosynthetic rate and partly closed stomata owing to leaf abscission and low water status, (4) decreased maximum photochemical efficiency of photosystem II (PSII) (variable to maximum fluorescence ratio, Fv/Fm), quantum efficiency of noncyclic electron transport of PSII, and Chl a and Chl b. Four days after rehydration, new leaves budded from stems. In the rewatered plants, the chloroplast function was restored, the gas exchange and Chl fluorescence returned to a similar level as control plant. The above result indicated that maintaining an active stem system after leaf abscission during extreme drought stress may be the foundation which engenders these mechanisms rapid regrowth for C. korshinskii in arid environment.

Additional key words

chlorophyll content chlorophyll fluorescence fluorescence quenching photosynthesis stress response 



intercellular CO2 concentration




day after water was withheld


day after rehydration


drought stress


transpiration rate


minimum fluorescence of the dark-adapted state


maximum fluorescence of the light-adapted state


maximum fluoresence yield of the dark-adapted state


steady-state fluoresence


maximum photochemical efficiency of photosystem II


field water capacity


stomatal conductance


nonphotochemical quenching of fluorescence


photosynthetic photon flux density


net photosynthetic rate


photosystem II


relative water content


soil water content


leaf temperature


well watered


instantaneous water-use efficiency


quantum efficiency of noncyclic electric transport of PSII


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Grassland Agro-Ecosystems/School of Life ScienceLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina
  2. 2.Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research InstituteChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina

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