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  • Author or Editor: Roberto Calamassi x
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Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis Mill.) is known to be the most drought-resistant Mediterranean Pine. This species is widely distributed throughout the Mediterranean region and displays a high intraspecific variability, with respect to its physiological and morphological response to environmental conditions. In this experiment we evaluated the response of Pinus halepensis seedlings to drought. Sixty germinated seeds (accession A6, Shaharia, Israel) were grown in soil for 8 weeks and then transferred to black plexiglass tanks containing half-strength air-sparged Hoagland solution. After 6 weeks of acclimation to hydroponics, the osmotic potential of the solution was lowered by adding polyethylene-glycol (PEG) 8000. Water potential was lowered in 0.2 MPa increments every 4 days, until a final value of –0.8 was reached. The seedlings were then maintained at –0.8 MPa for a further 8 days. Ultrasonic acoustic emissions, pressure–volume (P–V) curves, shoot and root growth, leaf area, xylem diameter, root apex mitotic index and cell length were measured on control and stressed seedlings. Seedlings were then transferred to normal Hoagland solution for 24 hours to simulate rewatering, and P–V curves and ultrasonic emissions measurements were repeated. Results showed that the final root growth is maintained in the stressed seedlings at the same rate as controls, whereas shoot growth was significantly reduced. The leaf area was reduced by stress to 36%, but the xylem diameter only to 10%, leading to a lower leaf area:xylem section ratio in the stressed plants. Ultrasonic emissions in the stressed plants were 365% of the control, and 182%, after rewatering. Specific details of the growth and physiology data are presented.

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