Effects of shade, drought and daughter cladodes on the CO2 uptake by cladodes of Opuntia ficus-indica
The effects of shade on the physiology of opuntias have received little attention, notwithstanding that shade regularly occurs in both wild stands and cultivated populations. This research evaluates the effects of shade on the physiology of cladodes of Opuntia ficus-indica, with and without daughter cladodes, as they are exposed to progressive drought. The stress caused by shade, drought and daughter cladodes reduced photosynthesis by mother cladodes and was associated with decreases in relative water content, parenchyma thickness and chlorophyll content. Shade exacerbated the physiological drought of mother cladodes imposed by daughter cladodes and by reduced soil water content.