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Why are leaves hydraulically vulnerable?


As plant tissues dehydrate, water transport efficiency declines, a process typically attributed to air obstruction (embolism) in the xylem. Trifiló et al. (pages 5029-5039) dissect leaf hydraulic vulnerability and show that both xylem and living tissues may be important. If confirmed and clarified, an important role for outsidexylem hydraulic decline will change our understanding of how plants transport water and control biosphere carbon and water fluxes.

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