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Abstract Water storage and nocturnal increases in osmotic pressure affect the water relations of the desert succulent Ferocactus acanthodes, which was studied using an electrical circuit analog based on the anatomy and morphology of a representative individual. Transpiration rates and osmotic pressures over a 24‐h period were used as input variables. The model predicted water potential, turgor pressure and water flow for various tissues. Plant capacitances, storage resistances and nocturnal increases in osmotic pressure were varied to determine their role in the water relations of this dicotyledonous succulent. Water coming from storage tissues contributed about one‐third of the water transpired at night: the majority of this water came from the nonphotosynthetic, water storage parenchyma of the stem. Time lags of 4 h were predicted between maximum transpiration and maximum water uptake from the soil. Varying the capacitance of the plant caused proportional changes in osmotically driven water movement but changes in storage resistance had only minor effects. Turgor pressure in the chlorenchyma depended on osmotic pressure, but was fairly insensitive to doubling or halving of the capacitance or storage resistance of the plant. Water uptake from the soil was only slightly affected by osmotic pressure changes in the chlorenchyma. For this stem succulent, the movement of water from the chlorenchyma to the xylem and the internal redistribution of water among stem tissues were dominated by nocturnal changes in chlorenchyma osmotic pressure, not by transpiration. Copyright © 1989, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved

Original publication




Journal article


Plant, Cell & Environment

Publication Date





831 - 842