Abstract Detail

Life without water: evolution and adaptation of xeric plants

Grace, Olwen [1].

Water storage in succulent plants and its value as a resouce.

Specialised water-storing tissue, hydrenchyma, has evolved many times as an adaptation to drought in plant. So-called ‘succulent’ plants comprise a phylogenetically diverse assemblage of thousands of species occurring in drought-prone habitats. All succulent plants use a hydrenchyma reservoir to support metabolism during drought, yet are remarkably diverse in morphology and habitat. Despite the apparently simple arrangement of vacuolated parenchyma cells, the role of hydrenchyma during drought remains incompletely understood. Revisiting classical observations with contemporary methods, however, has shed new light on the mechanistic complexity of the tissue and its function in regulating drought stress. For instance, cell wall folding in Aloe (Asphodelaceae) has recently been shown to be a controlled response to minimise cell damage during the dehydration and rehydration processes. Drought tolerance in xeric succulent plants, in particular, could be particularly relevant to the search for bioresources to meet the challenges of environmental change, but risks of species extinction and invasiveness indicate that this is not straightforward. Here, I will discuss recent advances in the understanding of water-storing tissues and their future value.

1 - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AE, UK

drought tolerance
climate change

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Abstract ID:839
Candidate for Awards:None

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