Pimienta-Barrios, Eulogio; Cornejo, Sofía Loza; Del Castillo-Aranda, María Eugenia González
March 2003
Acta Botanica Mexicana;2003, Issue 62, p21
Academic Journal
The morphology and hydraulic conductance of xylem vessel members of cladodes of both wild and cultivated prickly pear species and varieties (Opuntia spp.) collected in the semiarid lands of the Mexican states of Jalisco and Zacatecas, were examined. We aimed to know if the differences in resistance to drought commonly observed in the field between wild and cultivated species of Opuntia might be related with density, anatomy of vessel members, and differences in their hydraulic conductance. In addition, we studied if there were differences in the degree of specialization of the xylem of both wild and cultivated populations. Our observations showed that in the cultivated species Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill. (varieties amarilla montesa, picochulo, chapeada, pelón liso, burrona and cristalina), as well as in wild species O. streptacantha Lem. (varieties cardón and charola); O. robusta Wendl. (varieties tapón and tapón de mayo), and O. cochinera Griff., vessel elements with scalariform and alternate thickenings were more commonly observed than vessel elements with helical thickenings. The plants under study did not show morphological differences in the vessel elements that indicated a higher degree of specialization in any of them. Neither morphological characters nor hydraulic conductance values of vessel members revealed differences that contribute to explain the greater resistance to drought of wild species compared with cultivated species of prickly pear observed in the field.


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