Needle cell elongation and maturation timing derived from pine needle cellulose δ18O

William E. Wright, Steven W. Leavitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Estimates of the timing of Pinus arizonica Engelm. needle development in 1998 and 1999 were derived from the leaf-cellulose δ18O of weekly growth increments. Significant correlations were noted between time series of local humidity and leaf-cellulose δ18O for needles growing near Tucson, Arizona. Correlations with temperature were also significant, but much lower, suggesting these variations in cellulose δ18O were determined mostly by changes in humidity. The timing of all significant correlations lags the timing of the appearance of the new needle growth, and is interpreted as indicating 16-23 d were required for cell enlargement in 1998 and 13-17 d in 1999. Similarly, properties of the environmental time series, when significantly correlated, are interpreted as indicating the duration of cellulose deposition (7-27 d in 1998, 13-21 d in 1999). Variations in stable-isotope back diffusion (the Péclet effect) and the synthesis of cellulose using stored photosynthate are discussed as explanations for departures from a Craig and Gordon-type model of leaf water δ18O. The Péclet effect, use of stored photosynthate, and variations in the growing-season source-water δ18O, probably confound the development of a high-resolution paleohumidity proxy from subfossil needle cellulose δ18O in this region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Cell enlargement
  • Cell wall maturation
  • Humidity
  • Needle elongation
  • Oxygen isotope ratio
  • Péclet effect
  • Secondary cell wall
  • δO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Needle cell elongation and maturation timing derived from pine needle cellulose δ18O'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this