Leaf water potential (LWP), relative water content (RWC), gas exchange characteristics, and specific leaf weight (SLW) were measured six hours before, during, and after water stress treatment in F. chiloensis and F. ×ananassa grown in growth chambers. The leaves of both species showed significantly lower LWP and RWC as water stress developed. F. ×ananassa had consistency lower LWP under stressed and nonstressed conditions than F. chiloensis. F. ×ananassa had higher RWC under nonstressed conditions, and its RWC decreased more rapidly under water stress than F. chiloensis. In comparison to F. ×ananassa, F. chiloensis had significantly higher CO2 assimilation rate (A), leaf conductance (LC), and SLW, but not transpiration rate (Tr), under stressed and nonstressed conditions. LC was the most sensitive gas exchange characteristic to water stress and decreased first. Later, A and stomatal conductance were reduced under more severe water stress. A very high level of Tr was detected in F. ×ananassa under the most severe water stress and did not regain after stress recovery, suggesting a permanent damage to leaf. The Tr of F. chiloensis was affected less by water stress. Severe water stress resulted in higher SLW of both species.
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