DOI: https://doi.org/10.1139/X08-183

Abstract: The main objective of this study was to identify differential anatomical features between Ulmus pumila L. and Ulmus minor Mill. clones resistant to Dutch elm disease and U. minor clones susceptible to Dutch elm disease, with a focus on the intervascular pits and medullary rays. Resistant elms showed lower mean values than susceptible elms for pit membrane diameter, pit aperture area, pit membrane abundance per vessel-wall area, ray width, and ray tangential area. A principal component analysis of the parameters measured revealed slight differentiation between species but clearly grouped U. minor clones according to their susceptibility group. In comparison with susceptible elms, the pit structure observed in resistant elms may limit passive fungal spread within the sapflow, lower the probability of fungal cells passively reaching pit membranes, and reduce the vulnerability of the xylem to cavitation. Similarly, the ray structure observed in the resistant elms is likely to reduce the amount of easily accessible nutrients available for fungal growth as well as the rate of radial colonization in comparison with susceptible elms. Examination of the principal component loadings suggested that susceptible U. minor clones were mainly characterized by enhanced values of pit membrane abundance per vessel-wall area relative to resistant U. minor trees.