Canadian Forest Service Publications
Gravimorphism in current-year shoots of Abies balsamea: involvement of compensatory growth, indole-3-acetic acid transport and compression wood formation. 2002. Little, C.H.A.; Lavigne, M.B. Tree Physiology 22: 311-320.
Available from: Atlantic Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 19673
We investigated the cause of gravimorphic growth inhibition in current-year shoots of balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.) seedlings displaced from their normal orientation in the gravitational field. Tilting the main stem of seedlings decreased shoot elongation, cambial growth as measured by tracheid production, and leaf dry weight of the terminal shoot and the lateral shoots on the lower side of the tilted stem. Removing either the terminal shoot or all lateral shoots induced compensatory growth in the remaining shoots, but did not reduce the inhibitory effect of tilting on shoot growth. Bending the apical part of a tilted main stem to restore it to the vertical did not fully reverse the inhibition of terminal shoot growth caused by stem tilting.
Stem tilting inhibited cambial activity at the base of decapitated terminal shoots treated apically with indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) and decreased the basipetal transport of a [1-14C]-IAA pulse. Stem tilting also induced compression wood formation on the lower side of the tilted stem. Compression wood formation was associated with increases in cambial activity and stem respiration. Stem tilting did not affect either the net photosynthetic rate in 1-year-old leaves or the xylem water potential in current-year lateral shoots. These results support the hypothesis that gravimorphic growth inhibition in a current-year shoot on a tilted stem involves reductions in (1) the shoot's capacity to export IAA, and hence to mobilize photoassimilates, and (2) the supply of photoassimilates available for import by the shoot, as a result of increased cambial sink activity associated with compression wood formation outside that shoot.