Sap Pressure in Vascular Plants

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  16 Apr 1965:
Vol. 148, Issue 3668, pp. 339-346
DOI: 10.1126/science.148.3668.339


A method is described which permits measurement of sap pressure in the xylem of vascular plants. As long predicted, sap pressures during transpiration are normally negative, ranging from -4 or -5 atmospheres in a damp forest to -80 atmospheres in the desert. Mangroves and other halophytes maintain at all times a sap pressure of -35 to -60 atmospheres. Mistletoes have greater suction than their hosts, usually by 10 to 20 atmospheres. Diurnal cycles of 10 to 20 atmospheres are common. In tall conifers there is a hydrostatic pressure gradient that closely corresponds to the height and seems surprisingly little influenced by the intensity of transpiration. Sap extruded from the xylem by gas pressure on the leaves is practically pure water. At zero turgor this procedure gives a linear relation between the intracellular concentration and the tension of the xylem.

Stay Connected to Science