Some observations of the adaptations of sandy shrubs to the arid environment in the Mu Us Sandland: leaf water relations and anatomic features
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In the Mu Us Sandland of China, a diversity of native shrubs make-up an important part of the local vegetation. Based on leaf water relations and anatomy, we show that the water-spending/water-saving paradigm is applicable to assess the drought adaptations of the shrubs. The water spenders showed a more mesic leaf anatomy, higher osmotic potential, lower cell wall rigidity, and moderate drop of leaf water potential with increasing water deficit, such as Hedysarum mongolicum, Salix psammophila and Artemisia sphaerocephala; whereas the water savers showed the opposite, such as Tetraena mongolica, Zygophyllum xanthoxylon and Sabina vulgaris. This scheme could also be useful to interpret the ecology of other species under investigation. 2001 Academic Press.