A combined system has been developed in which epidermal cell turgor, leaf water potential, and gas exchange were determined for transpiring leaves of Tradescantia virginiana L. Uniform and stable values of turgor were observed in epidermal cells (stomatal complex cells were not studied) under stable environmental conditions for both upper and lower epidermises. The changes in epidermal cell turgor that were associated with changes in leaf transpiration were larger than the changes in leaf water potential, indicating the presence of transpirationally induced within-leaf water potential gradients. Estimates of 3 to 5 millimoles per square meter per second per megapascal were obtained for the value of within-leaf hydraulic conductivity. Step changes in atmospheric humidity caused rapid changes in epidermal cell turgor with little or no initial change in stomatal conductance, indicating little direct relation between stomatal humidity response and epidermal water status. The significance of within-leaf water potential gradients to measurements of plant water potential and to current hypotheses regarding stomatal response to humidity is discussed.
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