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Oxford University Press, AoB PLANTS, 0(5), p. plt052-plt052, 2013

DOI: 10.1093/aobpla/plt052



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Conservative water management in the widespread conifer genus Callitris

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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How plants manage their water use in seasonally dry environments is a major component of each individual species' ecology. We examined closely related species of a highly successful Australian conifer genus, Callitris, to determine whether species growing under contrasting climates showed adaptive specialization in the way they used water. Sampling 4 Callitris species growing across a large climatic range we found that each exhibited a similar strategy of linking growth very tightly with rainfall events, and surviving dry periods by resisting damage to their water transport system. This strategy is similar to the Junipers of the Northern Hemisphere, and requires a cavitation-resistant xylem.