Ecohydrology: Plant water use

Lixin Wang, Matthew F. McCabe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Water is vital to plants, with key cellular activities such as photosynthesis, nutrient transport, and the regulation of plant temperature all requiring, or occurring in, the presence of water molecules. Apart from playing an integral role in biophysical processes, water also helps plants maintain turgor pressure ensuring internal structure and morphology. Up to 90% of plant weight is water and the amount of water plants use is substantial. A mature houseplant can transpire its body weight every day. For natural woody vegetation, water use can cover a broad range: from 10 kg day -1 for trees in a 32-year-old Quercus petraea plantation in eastern France to 1180 kg day -1 for an overstory Euperua purpurea tree growing in the Amazonian rainforest (Wullschleger et al., 1998), with use often governed by a combination of need and availability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Engineering Hydrology
Subtitle of host publicationFundamentals and Applications
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781466552449
ISBN (Print)9781466552418
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Engineering


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