Journal Article

Co-ordinated development of the leaf midrib xylem with the lamina in <i>Nicotiana tabacum</i>

Haruhiko Taneda and Ichiro Terashima

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 110, issue 1, pages 35-45
Published in print July 2012 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online May 2012 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI:
Co-ordinated development of the leaf midrib xylem with the lamina in Nicotiana tabacum

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Background and Aims

The water-transport capacity of leaf venation is positively related to the leaf-lamina area, because the number and diameter of vein-xylem conduits are controlled to match the lamina area. This study aimed to investigate how this co-ordinated relationship between the leaf-lamina area and vein-xylem characteristics is achieved by examining the midrib xylem of tobacco leaves.


The changes in the midrib-xylem characteristics over time were quantified using leaves with four different final lamina areas. The measured data were fitted to sigmoidal functions. From the constants of the fitted curves, the final values in mature leaves, maximal developmental rates (VDev) and developmental duration (TDev) were estimated for each of the xylem characteristics. Whether it is the lamina or the midrib xylem that drives the co-ordinated development was examined by lamina removal from unfolding leaves. The effects of the application of 0·1 % IAA (indole-3-acetic acid) to leaves with the laminas removed were also analysed.

Key Results

For both the leaf lamina and the midrib-xylem characteristics, the differences in final values among leaves with different lamina areas were more strongly associated with those in VDev. Notably, the VDev values of the midrib-xylem characteristics were related to those of the leaf-lamina area. By lamina removal, the conduit diameter was reduced but the number of conduits did not significantly change. By IAA application, the decrease in the conduit diameter was halted, and the number of conduits in the midrib xylem increased.


According to the results, the VDev values of the lamina area and the midrib-xylem characteristics changed in a co-ordinated manner, so that the water-transport capacity of the midrib xylem was positively related to the leaf-lamina area. The results also suggest that IAA derived from the leaf lamina plays a crucial role in the development of the leaf venation.

Keywords: Auxin; hydraulic conductivity; leaf development; venation; tobacco; vessel; water relations; xylem conduit

Journal Article.  6580 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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